Holy Week

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For centuries churches have recognized “holy week” with various services and events. What is holy week, why is it such a big deal and what will Grace Church be doing? Thanks for asking… let’s get into this…

1. Holy week is the term for the week leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection. I highly recommend reading the Gospels’ accounts of this important week at this time. Some churches have “Maundy Thursday” services which commemorate Jesus’ washing of the disciples’ feet and the Last Supper. Even in the final week of Jesus’ life He was teaching and modeling a life of servanthood for us. The Last Supper, we often refer to as “communion” remembering the intimacy of God with His followers in sharing this important meal which Jesus’ gave significance to by using the bread and cup to symbolize his body and blood. Good Friday is historically viewed as the night of the crucifixion of Jesus. Easter is the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. It is most common in churches like ours to see only Good Friday and Easter services.

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A Model Prayer

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus provides a template or a model for how His followers ought to pray. We call it the “Lord’s Prayer”. Some traditions have found benefit in actually reciting the prayer verbatim as an aspect of the liturgy of a church service. I think this can be a rewarding practice as long it is not divorced from the heart and intent of connecting with God. I don’t see Jesus prescribe this behavior as a necessary aspect of a church service, but when used intentionally, there can be great value. It seems, however that Jesus’ primary goal in providing the “Lord’s Prayer” was to help His followers connect with God and to give them language to do so. Using the template Jesus provides, let’s outline a few elements of an effective prayer:

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Uncommon



We like to fit in. There is something wired up in us that makes us fearful of standing out and looking different. In some of us this power is stronger than in others, yet it exists in all of us. It is definitely easier to go along with the crowd than to stand apart. What does it take then to cause one of us to be willing to step out? And not only to step out but to walk a different path consistently would seem like an impossible task. This is only part of the challenge in choosing to walk the way of Jesus. His way also has the enemy of the evil one and one of the strongest foes: our own flesh, our own selfishness, our own propensity to want to be in charge, to want to be “God”. The way of Jesus is the way of life. His call is not common, popular, easy or our default. It’s a narrow way, a singluar way and a leaving of what’s behind and taking up of a cross.

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Why Do You Do That?!

Have you ever stopped and asked yourself, “why am I doing this?” I am convinced that there is a lot we do with little thought to its’ purpose. Many things are immaterial and don’t really matter why we do them, but if we thought more deeply about some of the things we’d discover that there is much we do to shape people’s opinions of us. Some  of the things we do are out of fear of disappointing others and other things we do in hopes that we will get some desired outcome that will benefit us. The issue gets even more confusing when we look at spiritual activities. Is it possible that practices that on the surface seem very spiritual and good to do could be done with bad motives? For example, do you think you could give to God without being connected to God? Would you be able to pray the Lord’s Prayer without recognizing God’s presence and moving closer to Him relationally? Could you sing the words of a worship song but be a million miles away from God? The answer is a resounding yes to all of them, which is troubling. Because what that means is we could decieve ourselves into believing that since we’re doing spiritual activity that we are closer to God and nothing could be farther from the truth.

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Seven “Grace Killers” — Guest Blogger: TJ Addington

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A culture of grace is often missing among God’s people. And it is a big disconnect for those of us who represent the King of Grace – Jesus. I am talking about the ability and willingness to give one another the benefit of the doubt, accept that others are not perfect and are in need of grace and extending it even as we desire it to be extended to us.

Here are seven common grace killers:

Critical spirits and sharp comments. When we allow ourselves to have critical spirits toward others we set ourselves above them in our attitude and demeanor. When we make sharp comments we compound our error and in essence demean others. Even when it is necessary to have a difficult conversation one can speak graciously with truth and ever conscious of our own issues. All of us live under God’s grace which He extends daily. To follow Him is to extend that same grace to others.

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