Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Welcome Wagon

                                                        
      The excitement was so evident, you could feel it in the air.  There was a sense of anticipation and renewed hope in the hearts of the people.  Is this the one?  Is this the man that will lead us?  They did everything they could to make him feel welcome.  They prepared a lot of food and gave him a big warm greeting, with cries of "Hello!"  "So glad to see you!" 
     This was the scene today, at our church.  We welcomed a prospective senior pastor.  We have been without one for over three years.  During that time, we have had to change and grow...individually.  We have had to check our hearts and see where sin and selfishness have crept in.  Once we had cleaned up our own lives and grown together as a body, God saw fit to send us a leader.  It is now the right time.
     There was a similar scene over two thousand years ago.  Crowds gathered in Jerusalem, to greet a new prospective leader.  Someone the people had been waiting for, for a long time.  They greeted him with shouts of "Hosanna! Glory to God in the Highest!"  They did all they could to make him comfortable, even laying their cloaks and palm branches on the ground for His donkey to walk on.  The only difference in this scene, is that within one week the people would change their minds...enough to kill him.
     Jesus had fulfilled His ministry.  He knew as He rode into Jerusalem that day, that it would be the last week of His life.  The people loved him...they were excited that He had come to save them.  By the end of the week, the Jewish leaders had convinced them that He was a blasphemous heretic.  They were so easily swayed, because they didn't know Him.  The ones that knew Him, His disciples, didn't want Him dead but they were too afraid to stick by His side.  They blended into the crowd, trying to keep a low profile.
     How well do you know Jesus?  Can others sway you in your dedication?  Would you give up your values if someone asked you to?  A lot of people would automatically say, "NO!!  I wouldn't compromise my beliefs for someone else!"  Really?
     How do you respond if the group you are with begin to talk about someone you know?  Do you try to change the subject, or leave?  Or do you join in the conversation?  If a friend is doing something you know is wrong, do you bring it to their attention or keep it to yourself, afraid of making them mad?  The closer you are to Christ, the stronger you are in your convictions and beliefs.  If you are easily swayed, maybe you need to get closer to the LORD, by praying or reading His Word. 
     Give Christ a warm welcome.  Open up your heart, and life to Him.  He will in turn welcome you into His Kingdom, for all eternity.

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