Jesus Loves the Church

Good morning. It is Saturday, January 17, 2015. Welcome to the Weekend Edition

Today’s Word of the Day is “odiferous.” I like that world. It’s interesting how the usage of words changes over time. Here are the meanings of “odiferous.” “1. Originally: that bears or diffuses a pleasant scent; sweet-smelling; fragrant. In later use: that has or emits a (pleasant or unpleasant) odour; strong-smelling; odorous. 2. fig. In early use: pleasing; agreeable; good. Now (usually): unpleasant, disgusting.”

Today is Kid Inventors’ Day. Know a smart kid? Pay attention . . . they may be on to the next big thing!

Yesterday was another challenging day at my new responsibilities. I’m not terribly crazy about this, but maybe it will get better. The work is more intense, there is more pressure, and people seem to come at me from all sides. I wound up working over an hour extra yesterday to get the receiving queue (I’m not sure when I last used that word in a blog entry) cleared out. Fortunately, the shift lead, who previously did this job, helped me out quite a bit.

Today is a normal Saturday, with a couple of extra tasks thrown in. I need to take the old U-Verse equipment to the UPS store to send it back. Of course, I’m not convinced that we have the billing all straightened out between AT&T and DirecTV, yet, either.

Later, today, as is our custom, we have our Anchor Prayer Gathering at 4:45, and our worship gathering at 5:45. Any and all are welcome. We are The Exchange.

(Source: Popeye.com)

It was on this date in 1929 that Popeye the Sailor made his first appearance in Elzie Segar’s comic strip, THIMBLE THEATER. The comic strip originally revolved around Olive Oyl’s family. Popeye later made his screen debut in 1933 in a Betty Boop cartoon called, “Popeye the Sailor.”

Today’s birthdays include Benjamin Franklin (inventor), Anne Bronte (author), Al Capone (gangster), Betty White (actress), Eartha Kitt (singer), Vidal Sassoon (cosmetologist), Eddie LaBaron (football player), Don Zimmer (baseball coach), James Earl Jones (voice of Darth Vader), Shari Lewis (ventriloquist), Maury Povich (talk show host), Muhammad Ali (pugilist), Jim Ladd (radio DJ), Andy Kaufman (comedian), Mick Taylor (Rolling Stones), Darrell Porter (baseball player), Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (one of those Kennedys), Steve Earl (musician), Paul Young (musician), Steve Harvey (actor/game show host), Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles), Chili Davis (baseball player), Jim Carrey (actor/comedian), Michelle Obama (First Lady), Kid Rock (singer), and Zooey Deschanel (actress).

Wow, that’s a lot of birthdays for this day! Jim Ladd is currently one of my favorite radio DJs. Unfortunately, I only get to hear him when I’m getting home late from work, as his “Free Form Radio” program on Sirius/XM Deep Tracks doesn’t start until 6:00 PM CST. I do love his program, though. “He’s been getting inside the minds of California listeners for decades . . .” Jim was born on this date in 1948.

Most people know who James Earl Jones is. He’s that guy with the voice. You know, the voice of Darth Vader. One of my favorite roles of his, is Terence Mann in Field of Dreams. Of course, it would be a baseball movie. But I have to admit, one of my favorite things he has done is the Sprint commercial with Malcolm McDowell, in which they use the phrase, “Totes magotes.” James was born on this date in 1931, making him 84 years old today. Totes magotes!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins; their cities you rooted out; the very memory of them has perished.
But the LORD sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice,
and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness.
The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

Psalm 9:6-9

(From Knowing Jesus)

Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom.
Luke 2:41-42
And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.
Luke 4:15-16
And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching.
Mark 1:21

We can see from these passages of Scripture, that, “Worship was an integral part of Jewish family life in the days of Jesus.” It was not something that was optional. If you were Jewish, you went to the synagogue, at least weekly, and once a year, you made the journey to Jerusalem for Passover. Life centered on the Jewish religious calendar. Of course, some of the duties on the calendar, as Jesus found, “bound the people to ritual and led to self-righteous pride.”

It is important to note that, even though Jesus saw through, and frequently pointed out, the hypocrisy of his contemporary religious leaders, he still faithfully attended synagogue. He was even invited to teach and read from the Old Testament, at times. He continued to worship with his people, while admonishing them that the Kingdom of God was at hand.

“Following Jesus demands that we worship faithfully, as he did.” Jesus said that his house would be a house of prayer. He went to “meet God” at his place of worship, and so must we. Over the years, many people have declared, “I don’t have to go to church to worship.” While that may be true, faithful followers of Jesus must go to church (if they are able . . . I understand that there are some who simply cannot do that . . . that’s a whole different subject). We must worship in corporate settings. “As we worship, we understand more fully what it means to follow Jesus. Without faithful worship, our profession of faith is hollow mockery.” I couldn’t agree more.

Father, I thank you that you have placed within me a love for your Church, and for worship. I have long understood the invaluable worth of worshiping with my brothers and sisters. There is strength in numbers. When we gather together, we are not only not alone, but we gain strength, encouragement, and wisdom from one another. The value of the support of the body of Christ cannot be over-emphasized! I thank you for the family that I worship with each weekend, and for the other gatherings that occur throughout the week, as well. I pray that you help me to develop even closer bonds with these people, as we study together, worship together, pray together, and fellowship together. Help us to make it known to the world, how important it is to gather together and worship. May our professions of faith not be “hollow mockery.” May we know how much Jesus loves the Church.

I pray for this day, that we might be able to get everything accomplished that we need to. May we worship well and pray with holy intensity this afternoon. Help me as I lead the prayer gathering; help me to lead in relevant topics as we pray, bringing glory to you and your Kingdom. May we have time of rest this evening and tomorrow, as we enjoy our time with Rachel and Justin. I pray for them, that your grace would be on them, and that you would show your overwhelming love to all of us. I also pray that you would help Christi feel better, as she is suffering from some cold symptoms.

The Church is important. Gathering together for worship is essential to our faith. Jesus demonstrated this, and we can do no less.

Grace and peace, friends.

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