Sacred Spaces 545 – “Covered by the Blood” (Promise, we’re not vampires…)

I heard this talk yesterday and the speaker ended off in prayer and in that prayer they mentioned being “covered by the blood of Jesus.”

Part of me cringes when I hear that.
Not because of I’m ungrateful for what Jesus did for me. No ways!

And I know that phrase is in scripture; a few times:

” I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7: 14

“Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.” Hebrew 13: 12

“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Revelation 12: 11

covered by the blood of jesus

TO READ (LEARN) MORE about the blood of Christ… go to the end of this post:

But I guess, I’m just….wait for it… another “christianese” phrase: seeker sensitive. (Haha!)

But seriously, the people who are new to the faith, or still checking out this whole God thing… how does that phrase sound to them?

Vampire-ish? Cult-ish? Just darn scary!
A lot of Christian folk assume a lot of things a lot of the time.
Maybe we can use our words in sermons (talks) and prayers wisely.
And I’m not even suggesting taking out some of those phrases, but rather being aware of the people with you…

And when we say a phrase like “blood of Jesus” or the “blood of the Lamb” we add a little explanation to it too…

That way we include everyone in that moment.

Because, truth is, the imagery is grace-filled:

By Jesus dying for us, (the blood shed of His death) we are forgiven.
Because for any wrongdoing (our sin) there needs to be a punishment.
The modern world understands this! Hence, the reason for the police, court cases, prosecutions, jails and capital punishment.
If some crime (wrongdoing) is done – there needs to be a suitable punishment given right?
Jesus, did that for us. His death set saved us.
He died in our place.
We were (are) all guilty in the eyes of God.
Human nature is sinful.
But Jesus died as an ultimate sacrifice.
He was punished in our place.

And so, when we celebrate communion.
The elements of bread and juice represent Jesus “body and blood”
We celebrate with gratitude His mercy.
His pardon.
His death that set us free…


Explanation of the “Blood of Christ” can be found in Hebrews 9

Here is the text below:

The Blood of Christ
“11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

16 In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, 17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. 18 This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. 19 When Moses had proclaimed every command of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. 20 He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.” 21 In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. 22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

23 It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. 25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 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.”

This passage explains things quite well and why Jesus had to die.
In the old way (old covenant) to show that one was sorry for their sins, they would need to offer an animal sacrifice as an apology.
The idea behind it, was it costs them something to sacrifice some livestock. (livestock is equivalent to modern property)
Another idea, (perhaps ancient and sort of primitive) is that the aroma of the sacrifice (who does not enjoy the smell of a Lamb on a spit?) would be pleasing to God above.
And He would forgive the people.
And only a person deemed worthy (usually a priest) would be called to offer the animal sacrifice on the altar.

The new way (new covenant): enter Jesus.
God initiates the idea too.
The “old way” of sacrifices, became just a ritual.
No remorse or true repentance came with the animal offering…
A most costly sacrifice had to take place…
One that would COST EVERYTHING.

God sent His very own Son (John 3: 16)
For you and I.
That one death would set us free.
Bring us forgiveness.

Now that’s something to be incredibly thankful for!

Hope this helped a bit?

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Sacred Spaces 540 – To God be the Glory

On Wednesday night in church (a holy week service) we sang this well know hymn.
I was encouraged and inspired by the profound lyrics.
In a world of too many worship songs were the content becomes fluff and cheesy – perhaps it’s best to step back into old school and learn from there:

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Speaking of old school… I retyped each sentence… hoping that in writing down the words, God would stir something in me. Or even that the words would impress on my heart a little further.

(New school, would have been to copy and paste from another tab…
Not this time…)

To God be the glory, great things He hath done!
So loved He the world that He gave us His son.
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin
And opened the lifegate that all may go in.

The great thing God did for us was wipe our slate clean?
The sacrifice of His Son (His death) set us free.
Sin had to be atoned for? (Look at how law works in the world today. If it’s broken, it needs to be atoned for, right?)
So Jesus does that for us.
Perhaps things about that again this Easter.
I like the imagery of a lifegate.
Life is waiting on the other side. and who may go in? ALL

Oh perfect redemption, the purchase of blood
To every believer the promise of God.
The vilest offender who truly believes
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Who ever is the vilest?
Grace reaches you too
The redemption we receive from Jesus is perfect.
We don’t need to earn it. But need to embrace it with an open heart.

Great things He hath taught us.
Great things He hath done
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer and highers and great will be
Our wonder, our rapture, when Jesus we see.

Simply, God does great things.
Would we believe that for a change?
And celebrate that?
When will our wonder be greater and higher?
We become “unconvinced” or “uninspired” too easily!
What’s with that attitude we often bear?

So… how should we respond with these three stanzas?

Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord,
Let the earth rejoice
(Psalm 150 had something to say about that.)
Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord.
Let the people rejoice
(Psalm 40 speaks of that new song He put inside every one of us…)

Oh come to the Father thru Jesus the Son
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done.

There is your invitation. How will you respond?

Sacred Spaces 537 – The Beatitudes

It’s been while since I have read these:

beatitudeszc

What came to me is that as Jesus preaches from the hill he addresses all sorts of people.
The very people sitting there
(And those who will read the text years later)

He invites them in. He realizes people are at different spaces in their lives.
And that’s fine…

Each person who accepts the invitation will receive something. They will receive the thing that Jesus knows is best for them at that time.

So they come – the:

poor in spirit
mourners
meek
the ones who hunger and thirst for a deeper faith (more righteousness)
the merciful
the peacemakers
(there is a few more to the list.)

Note that these “positions” or “postures” vary.
Some are a good place to be – others, not so much.

YET, all are welcome.

How about you, reading this today? Where are you at?

Will you accept Jesus’ invitation?

And then you know what comes next?
It’s a mandate.
It’s an invitation to a lifestyle.

He uses imagery relevant to those times (and even today)

He says:

Be salt!
Be light!

“…so that they may see your good deeds and praise Your Father in heaven.”

Now, that’s something I want to be part of.

Sacred Spaces 528 – Name above all names

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Everything has a name.
Everything is named.

My name is Darrel.
Today is named Wednesday.
This post is known as a blog.

We name all items: coffee cup, table, bicycle, laptop and mobile phone.

We name illness too: bronchitis, pneumonia and depression…
We name our sins too: pornography, gossip and murder…

Philippians 2 reminds us:

“Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”

Matt Redman sings about it like this:

“Let all the other names fade away.
Until there’s only You.
Let all the other names fade away.
Jesus, take Your place.”

Isn’t that powerful? Isn’t that beautiful?

All names, are under the name of Jesus.
(It just got me thinking… about the name we utter so carelessly, sometimes)

Not realizing:

In Jesus’ name…

Sacred Spaces 524 – ministry on the road

Its been awhile since i blogged here. But I’m back. 

So over the last three weeks i have been on tour with some students from Pneumatix (the college where i work.)

We’ve been across three provinces in the towns of Ficksburg, Despatch and now Calirzdorp.

I’ve learnt a few things along the way and want to share some thoughts with you:

(I’ve included pics of our team in action to give you an idea of what we do. )

1. From small towns comes the biggest hospitality.

2. There are little “gems” all over the world.

3. Sometimes a sermon (a preach) won’t bring someone to God… but then perhaps performing arts could help…

4. People like to be entertained. (That’s why theatre all over the world is packed.) The productions we put on… carry a message that we hope would inspire / challenge and encourage our viewers.

5. I have a new found respect for performers who need to remember their lines and / or remember their dance moves.

6. There is a lot of despair all over South Africa. Sadly but understandably.

7. When we as a touring team come to a town we don’t  “minister to” people but rather “minister with” – that struck me a lot.

8. We also can ask of every town “what can i learn from you” instead of always coming in with a “messiah complex” and demanding that you can teach and have the answers…

9. We as a visiting team may be the catalyst / may light some fireworks in the lives of those who come to our shows but the main work is done by the pastors and youth pastors of every town or community we visit. Those people deserve the true applaud and prayer. We may awaken some lives. But the helping with continued growth comes from the local churches.

10. Tour involves ministry to the team too. There have been 18 personalities i have had to learn with, encourage, motivate and monitor their wellbeing.

Thank you for reading my observations.

Sacred Spaces 511 – All are welcome!

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A simple and powerful reminder: All are welcome!

Catherine used this image in her sermon on Sunday. It grabbed my attention.

All are welcome!
Jesus came for all of us
He came for the sinners
He came for you and me
Liars
Gossips
Thieves
Self righteous
Hypocrites
Those who get it right (at times)
Those who seem to not get it right
All are welcome!

And the picture reminded me of this controversial POD song:

A real honest song. With intense lyrics to digest. A sample here:

“I am fake, fraud, phony, I’m a known liar
Anorexic, rejected object of your desire
Suicidal thoughts keep one in the chamber
I’m a turned out streetwalking heroin banger
I am a secret cutter, porn lover, the town drunkard
Next door, neighborhood slut, I’m somebody’s mother
Outcasted, arrogant, bastard son
I’m the talk of the town but this story has just begun”

(Rest of the lyrics are here: I am (POD))

* Yes there is a swear word in the song. The Christian haters may pick up their stones and start casting; but have they really read the lyrics with an open heart and understood why it was written? And from who’s perspective:

The outcasts
The whores
The hurting

Their biggest question: Will God accept me?

(That’s from where the song is sung)

And the answer is: YES!

1 John 3:16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us.”

All are welcome!

Backwards Christmas Story (Part 5) – The Answer

Over the next 5 days I will be releasing a post each day… This is the Backwards Christmas Story.  May you enjoy it. Part 5 begins below:

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Backwards Christmas Story Part 5 – The Answer

Sometimes we need to start with the answer.  Jesus.  What question are You the answer for?

THEN

It’s dusty in here.  There is an awful smell.  The journey has been tough.  Both physically and mentally.

The angel said we should call our child: Jesus.

And here He is lying in my arms.  Only a few hours old.  There is peace in His eyes.  If hope was ever so tangible; it’s now in this moment.  I know it.  I feel it.

What child is this?

NOW

I’m exhausted.  I swore I’d make this year different.

But I got caught up in the rat race again.  We put up the tree at the beginning of the month.  We finished our shopping just two days ago. The roast will be ready for later.  Aaagh, we have to do our religious duty in a few minutes.

I need to hurry my hubby and the kids.  We don’t want to have to stand at the service.  Oh my, joy to the world, apparently.  But I am so tired.  ‘Peace be with you’ we habitually pass on… if I only I had some of that. 

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