Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Ninth Station: Jesus Falls a Third Time

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Jesus fell again in weakness,
Stumbling as we do, to lead us
Through our sorrow and our pain.

“Lord, save us!
Lord, grant us success!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
From the house of the Lord we bless you.
The Lord is God,
and he has made his light shine on us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
up to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I will praise you;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.” (Psalm 118:25-28 NIV)

“Vindicate me, Lord,
for I have led a blameless life;
I have trusted in the Lord
and have not faltered.
Test me, Lord, and try me,
examine my heart and my mind;
for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love
and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.” (Psalm 26:1-3)

Eighth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

Friday, April 6th, 2012

May our sympathy for Jesus
Turn to those who here now need us,
May we see Christ bruised in them.

“A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.'” (Luke 23:27-28 NIV)

“Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?
Look around and see.
Is any suffering like my suffering
that was inflicted on me,
that the Lord brought on me
in the day of his fierce anger?

“From on high he sent fire,
sent it down into my bones.
He spread a net for my feet
and turned me back.
He made me desolate,
faint all the day long.

“My sins have been bound into a yoke;
by his hands they were woven together.
They have been hung on my neck,
and the Lord has sapped my strength.
He has given me into the hands
of those I cannot withstand.

“The Lord has rejected
all the warriors in my midst;
he has summoned an army against me
to crush my young men.
In his winepress the Lord has trampled
Virgin Daughter Judah.

“This is why I weep
and my eyes overflow with tears.
No one is near to comfort me,
no one to restore my spirit.
My children are destitute
because the enemy has prevailed.” (Lamentations 1:12-16)

Seventh Station: Jesus Falls a Second Time

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Prostrate on the dust he crumbled,
Flogged in Body He resembled
All our brothers poor and scorned.

“Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:4-9 NIV)

Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene Helps Carry the Cross

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Simon Stopped in hesitation,
Not foreseeing his proud station,
Called to bear the Cross of Christ.

“And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

“A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of the skull’).” (Mark 15:20-22 NIV)

“May my prayer be set before you like incense;
may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;
keep watch over the door of my lips.
Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil
so that I take part in wicked deeds
along with those who are evildoers;
do not let me eat their delicacies.
Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness;
let him rebuke me—that is oil on my head.
My head will not refuse it,
for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers.” (Psalm 141:2-5 NIV)

Fourth Station: Jesus meets His Mother

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Jesus met his grieving mother,
She who made the Lord our Brother;
Now the sword her heart has pierced.

“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.” (John 19:25-27 NIV)

“What can I say for you?
With what can I compare you,
Daughter Jerusalem?
To what can I liken you,
that I may comfort you,
Virgin Daughter Zion?
Your wound is as deep as the sea.
Who can heal you?” (Lamentations 2:13 NIV)

Third Station: Jesus Falls for the First Time

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Weakened, prodded, cursed, and fallen,
His whole Body bruised and swollen,
Jesus tripped and lay in pain.

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’t If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” (John 15:18-20 NIV)

“Why are your garments red,
like those of one treading the winepress?
‘I have trodden the winepress alone;
from the nations no one was with me.
I trampled them in my anger
and trod them down in my wrath;
their blood spattered my garments,
and I stained all my clothing.
It was for me the day of vengeance;
the year for me to redeem had come.
I looked, but there was no one to help,
I was appalled that no one gave support;
so my own arm achieved salvation for me,
and my own wrath sustained me.'” (Isaiah 63:2-5 NIV)

Second Station: Jesus Carries His Cross

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Now the Cross as Jesus bore it,
Has become for us who share it,
The jeweled Cross of Victory.

“It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon. ‘Here is your king,’ Pilate said to the Jews.

“But they shouted, ‘Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!’

“‘Shall I crucify your king?’ Pilate asked.

“‘We have no king but Caesar,’ the chief priests answered.

“Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).” (John 19:14-17 NIV)

“Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” (Isaiah 53:1-3)

The Way of the Cross: First Station*

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Jesus, Lord, condemned, defiled,
May we too be meek and mild
As we tread your holy Way

May we feel no bitter hatred
When we too are persecuted,
Left alone to walk with You.

“Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, ‘Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?’ But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’

“‘I am,’ said Jesus. ‘And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.’

“The high priest tore his clothes. ‘Why do we need any more witnesses?’ he asked. ‘You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?’ They all condemned him as worthy of death.” (Mark 14:60-64 NIV)

“The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,

“I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.

“Ask me,
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.” (Psalm 2:2, 7-8)

*Based on The Way of the Cross with text from the Scriptures published by Barton-Cotton Inc.

Missional Starts at Home

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Yesterday after opening all her Christmas presents my six-year daughter Brenda, paused by the Christmas tree to pray. When she was done I asked what she said. She told me she wished Jesus a Happy Birthday. This beautiful moment actually started a couple of weeks ago. We were hanging out in the living room looking at the Christmas decorations. She asked me, “Daddy, on Christmas Day after breakfast, can I come out here and worship God?”

A couple of months ago, I was eating lunch with someone I used to attend church with. He asked me what I do to “train up my children in the ways of the Lord.” Yes that’s a very churchy way to ask that question but I still got the point.

That was a really hard question for me to answer. I immediately started thinking about specific times where I sit down with my kids and talk about God and how to live like Jesus. There aren’t any. We don’t have a set rhythm where we all sit down and talk about living like Jesus. Yet Brenda, of her own volition, regularly talks to her baby brother about Jesus. She regularly talks about God with me and Jen. She applies biblical teaching to life situations. God is working in Brenda’s life and I can see her responding by the way she acts and talks about God.

We don’t have a “family devotional time” (although every night Jen reads a Bible story to Brenda and I pray with her before she goes to sleep). We simply live out our faith and talk to Brenda about what we’re doing and why we do it. We talk about living like Jesus when we sit at home and when we walk along the road, when we lie down and when we get up (Deut. 6:7).

In my opinion, that’s what the “missional/incarnational” life is all about. It’s about living like Jesus and then when the time is right, explaining why we do what we do. It starts at home. The first people to whom God has sent us is our family. We share the Jesus life with them and then together we share it with our neighbors, our city, and the world.

What about you? What are you doing to be missional at home?

Another Church? Why?

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Does Ann Arbor really need another church in it? There are already more than 70 churches in the City of Ann Arbor. At least five of those churches are new plants that started within the past three years. In some ways it seems like adding another church into the mix is just muddying the waters.

Yet, in spite of all the churches in Ann Arbor almost 70% of the population is not part of any faith group. This includes non-Christian expressions of faith. Nearly 70% of the people living in Ann Arbor are atheist or agnostic. Moreover, there are 98,000 people living in Ann Arbor that do not know Jesus.

Yes, Ann Arbor needs another church. I believe that it is only through trusting in Jesus death and resurrection to overcome our sin that we can have a relationship with God now and forever. I believe that only through that relationship are we able to be the people that God created us to be. If I truly believe that then I need to do something about it. If I truly believe that Jesus fulfills our deepest desires and enables us to be who we’re truly meant to be then I need to do everything I can to connect people around me to Him. I need to show the people of Ann Arbor that I love them, God loves them, and Jesus died for them. The way I’m going to do that is by planting Agape Ann Arbor; a community experiencing and expressing God’s love.

Agape Ann Arbor is different from many other church plants. Many church plants focus on launching worship services. They focus first on getting a lot of people to gather together on Sunday mornings to hear the gospel. While I celebrate the influence those churches have on their communities, I feel like they’re focusing more on doing church on Sundays than being the church. That’s why we’re not launching Agape Ann Arbor as a worship service. We are launching a community.

We will worship together. We will have weekend worship services where we can celebrate God together and hear God’s word preached. That, however, is secondary. Our focus is to connect people in community to each other and to connect them to the God who loves them and died for them. We will build small communities where people experience and express God’s love.

You can help. You can join the movement: Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter,
Subscribe to our newsletter
, or contact me for more information.