What’s Happening This Week at FBC?

We are excited about participating in “Here for You, Acadiana” Saturday. This is our annual day of service in our community. Here are some reminders that will help us to have a great day.

• Meet in FBC Fellowship Hall at 7:30 for a light breakfast, last minute instructions, and group picture.
• Wear your “Here for You, Acadiana” t-shirt from last year or be prepared to purchase one for $5.
• Be prepared to stay on your job location until 1 p.m.
• Certainly be praying that the seeds of evangelism planted through word and deed will produce a great Gospel harvest.

As Christians, this week beginning Sunday is a really exciting week. As we celebrate Easter, we have several opportunities for worship and reflection. First, this Sunday morning, March 25, we have a special event planned for our children in all three hours of Sunday School. They will experience a reenactment of the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on the Sunday that began His Passion Week. In our two morning worship hours, the choir and orchestra are leading us in a worship experience called, “Hope Alive in Me.” Join us back Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. for a special Lord’s Supper Service. This service will be in Fellowship Hall.

On Good Friday, March 30, we have designed three opportunities for you to participate in a worship gathering and partake of the Lord’s Supper. You may come at 11 a.m., 12 p.m., or 1 p.m. These services are in the Sanctuary. Then, of course, Easter Sunday, April 1, we will gather to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. I encourage you to invite someone to be with you for all of these special times of worship.

My God, My God, Why Have You Abandoned Me?

This Easter season I am preaching on questions that arise in the Easter story. We have noted that these questions come from Jesus’ disciples, Jesus’ adversaries, and even Jesus Himself.

Matthew records a cry from Jesus on the cross that is framed as a question. “My God, My God, Why have you abandoned Me?”

9 Powerful Words! Only 4 in Jesus’ Aramaic language.
The trial of Jesus has been completed and now Matthew tells us that Jesus is hanging on the cross.

Why? Why these words? Every word is filled with deep emotion from Jesus and deep meaning for us.
In Jesus’ cry from the cross we see . . .

The Priority of Supplication

The first thing to observe in these nine words is that this is a prayer. Jesus is praying when He is arrested. You remember that prayer. “My father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39) Then He prays, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” (Matthew 26:42) Then, Matthew simply says that Jesus prayed a third time, saying the same thing. (Matthew 26:44) Then, they come for Him.

What do we do in the darkest times of our lives? Where do we turn for strength? We follow Jesus’ example. We turn to the Father. And a peace comes over us. Luke recorded this word from the cross, “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” (Luke 23:46) John recorded, “It is finished.” And then, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” (John 19:30)

Do you see the principle? Though Jesus was in agony, He was at peace. Prayer can do the same in our lives.

The Power of Scripture

The next thing to notice in these nine words is the power of Scripture. Jesus is praying to be sure, but He is also quoting Scripture. The Scripture that He is quoting is Psalm 22.

In Jesus, we have a wonderful example of the power and importance of Scripture in the most demanding moments of life. The most familiar example of this is in the beginning of Jesus’ ministry as He is tempted in the wilderness. Three times Jesus quoted the Old Testament Scripture as he faced the temptation of Satan. Though Psalm 22 starts off as a prayer of suffering, the conclusion of the Psalm is that this is a Psalm of praise. Might Jesus be doing the same here?

What are we to do in life’s most despairing moments? We follow the example of Jesus. We turn to the Father in prayer. We turn to His Word. We find in both that a peace washes over us.

We need to read His Word, but we also need to discipline ourselves to memorize His word so that we will be armed when those moments of despair come.

The Penalty of our Sin

The spiritual agony that Jesus faced is most clear. Remember the commentary from 2 Corinthians 5:21, “He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. He, the sinless One, took upon Himself all of our—all sin of all people of all time.

I believe this is the cry of the cross because this is how Jesus felt. That’s how sin makes us feel isn’t it? And these words are accompanied by complete darkness. No wonder it grew dark. Jesus bore the sin of all.

The Provision of our Salvation

Consider Leviticus 16:20-22.

20 “When he has finished making atonement for the most holy place, the tent of meeting, and the altar, he is to present the live male goat. 21 Aaron will lay both his hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the Israelites’ iniquities and rebellious acts—all their sins. He is to put them on the goat’s head and send it away into the wilderness by the man appointed for the task. 22 The goat will carry all their iniquities into a desolate land, and the man will release it there. (CSB)

Here is the Gospel. We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Sin has a penalty—separation from a Holy God. Jesus took our sin and took our penalty so that we could be free from the eternal penalty of sin. He took for a moment our abandonment so that we could be forgiven of sin, freed of sin, and know that through faith we might have eternal life.

For our earthly problems and our eternal problem, our answer is the same. We trust Jesus.

(This post is based on the message “My God, My God, Why Have You Abandoned Me?” which you can watch at fbclaf.org/video)

Governor’s Prayer Breakfast 2018

Reese R. Kauffman

Reese R. Kauffman

I attended Wednesday the 54th Annual Governor’s Prayer Breakfast. I have been attending for the last several years. I have never walked away from that meeting disappointed. The organization, prayer program, music, and keynote speaker every year has been incredible. This year’s prayer meeting was no exception. Lafayette’s own, Lauren Daigle, stirred the crowd with her talent, a video tribute of Billy Graham’s visit to Tiger Stadium in the 1970s moistened my eyes, and Childhood Evangelism Fellowship president, Reese Kauffman, brought quite a challenging and convicting keynote address.

I want to share with you today a little about Mr. Kauffman’s message. He presented an extended metaphor of our lives as being in a car driving down the road.

Our eyes are fixed, first of all, on the windshield. Often in life, we become preoccupied with all of the obstacles that are fixed in front of us. The potholes, traffic, construction can sometimes be paralyzing even while at times exciting.

Our eyes are also fixed on the rearview mirror. We have a rearview mirror in life also. Mr. Kaufmann presented the positive of this rearview look. Indeed, all of us are the products of the wonderful people of our past. Mr. Kaufmann told several rearview stories of his life. As he spoke and I listened, I couldn’t help but think of some of those folks in my own life—teachers, coaches, members of churches that I have pastored, and friends. All of these are part of who I am today.

There is a negative to the rearview of life though. Sometimes, we allow the mistakes, pain, problems, and yes, even people of our past weigh us down and paralyze us from today’s possibilities.

But, then Mr. Kaufmann said this: “Don’t let what is ahead of you or behind you distract you from what is in the car with you. Wow! What multiple applications! I take this to mean, first of all, the people who are in the car with me now. That is our family. Our first goal of discipleship is in our homes. Second, there is the present for us. We aren’t promised the future and we can’t do anything about the past, but praise God, we have today!

Thank you, Mr. Kaufmann. I needed that good word.

In the spirit of this week’s Governor’s Prayer Breakfast, continue to pray with me for our Governor and State Legislature.