Message From The Pastor

Month of June 2018

The Easter Story Continues

“Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus Himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing Him.” — Luke 24:13-16

I love the story of the two men on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24, as Jesus talks and walks beside them in the days after His resurrection. His presence was so real, but at first they did not know who He was. Jesus asks them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” (Luke 24:17) They answer with sadness, questioning how anyone could not know about the events in Jerusalem. They explain to the “unknown stranger” that they know of Jesus by His reputation: “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people.” (Luke 24:19b) They continue talking to their walking companion of their expectation of Jesus: “We had hoped that He was the one who was going to redeem Israel.” (Luke 24:21a) And finally they express their frustration over the news that His tomb was open but He was missing. Is this how we relate to Jesus? We know of His reputation, but He isn’t what we expected, and we become frustrated when He doesn’t “do” what we want.Jesus seeks the companionship of the two men on the road to Emmaus, just as He seeks ours. And what happens next? He challenges their scholarship, at the point of Scripture. “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:27) They wanted a Messiah, and Jesus reaches into their knowledge and understanding of the Old Testament to prove He is the One. They hear from Christ Himself that He had to suffer and die before entering His glory—something they did not yet grasp. But the story doesn’t end there, because there is no understanding on their part of who Jesus really is—no relationship. They invite Him to sit down and dine with them. Jesus takes the bread, gives thanks, and then breaks it before He gives it to them with His nail-scarred hands. “Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, and He disappeared from their sight.” (Luke 24:30) In spending time with Him, hearing truth from Him as He taught from Scripture, and being given the broken bread—they recognize Him. They admit to having their hearts burn within them during this experience on the road—and they return to Jerusalem proclaiming “It is true! The Lord has risen.”(Luke 24:34) Jesus wants to make Himself known—just as He did with these two men in the gospel of Luke. And we can come to know Him by spending time with Him, by studying truth in Scripture, and by knowing it is the Holy Spirit who will open our eyes to the brokenness of His body on the cross, so that, we can have fullness of life.Is your heart downcast? Do you not sense the presence of Christ where you are right now? Spending time in Scriptures, spending time in worship and prayer—that’s how you get to know the Lord. Go ahead—begin the journey on the road. . . . . .with Jesus beside you. You will never be the same. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”— 2 Corinthians 5:17



On May 8, my daughter sent me an article written by David Griner about a study Ikea conducted with plants. Ikea and Memac Ogilvy Dubai wanted to prove that even a potted plant could suffer from the effects of bullying, so they brought a demonstration to GEMS Wellington Academy in Dubai. In the school, one plant from Ikea was played recordings of negative, hurtful comments, such as “You’re not even green” and “You look rotten.” The other plant listened to recordings of positive comments like “Seeing you bloom makes me happy.” There was even a video to watch about the 30 day case study. Both plants were treated the same. The only difference was one plant heard compliments and words of encouragement while the other was verbally bullied with hateful words. The difference in the plants were remarkable. Those who heard positive words were healthy and green. Those who heard negative words were wilted, brown and dying.


IKEA’s leadership team says it hopes to extend the project into other schools: “It has helped children understand the impact that words can have,” says Vinod Jayan, managing director of Ikea. “It was so successful in driving awareness and reducing bullying amongst these children that more schools have approached us to conduct the experiment at their locations.”


Of course there are skeptics, but I believe in this experiment. Plants are living organisms created by a Creator who spoke everything into being…and it was so. Words are powerful. As Scripture says, “There is life and death in the power of the tongue.” Words can either build up or tear down. All of us have experienced either being built up or torn down. It is my prayer that we as the body of Jesus Christ use our words wisely. May our words encourage and build up the life of another and the life of our church. Ask yourself, “Have the words I have used today been life giving or life draining?” Remember what it did to the plants.



During the month of June and July we will journey through part of the book of Acts. We will discover how God began the movement we now call the church. In the process of seeing how the church began, how it grew, and how it overcame fierce opposition, may we receive fresh inspiration to continue the church’s mission today.