Indelible Grace Church

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Good Friday Reflection


During the Christmas season, we hear the following words:

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found…

In the Bible, thorns are more than a nuisance to gardeners and farmers. They represent the curse that the entire world was placed under after the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. Because we don’t live in an agrarian society, we don’t give much thought to thorns. But anyone who works in agriculture will tell you how difficult thorns make their lives. They injure. They choke out life. They mar beauty. Thorns remind us that this world is cursed with disease and selfishness and sorrow. But we don’t need thorns to remind us of these things. Every moment of pain and sadness in our lives testify to the curse the world is under.

As Jesus made his way to the cross, soldiers placed a crown of thorns on his head. They didn’t know it, but in doing so they placed the very curse of God on the Messiah’s head.

by Pastor Wade


Particularization Service


On March 11, 2018, after nearly 8 years, Indelible Grace Church was a church plant no longer, and having ordained and installed ruling elders, became a fully established and self-governing church. In PCA lingo, this is called "particularization." Jeff Murry, David Yi and Sammy Zheng were ordained and installed as ruling elders. They took solemn vows in the discharge of their duties, and there was the laying on of hands and prayer. The congregation also make solemn vows of obedience and faithfulness, as we became an organized church. And finally, Pastor Michael was installed as pastor. Elders and pastors from neighboring PCA churches participated in the service.


Reflection on Gratitude


Gratitude is one of the central characteristics of the Christian life. The Bible is replete with commands to give thanks: Colossians 3:15, “and be thankful,” 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “give thanks in all circumstances,” Ephesians 5:20, “give thanks always and for everything to God.”

And there is Jesus’ encounter with the ten lepers in Luke 17:11-19. In the story, ten lepers cry out from a distance to Jesus, “master, have mercy on us.” Jesus tells them, “go show yourself to the priests,” and on the way, all of them are cleansed and healed. But only one returns to Jesus, falls at his feet, and gives thanks. Jesus replies, “were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?”

We can all sympathize with the nine. They were eager to get on with the business of returning to their lives. They had homes and families waiting for them. They had missed so much of life, they didn’t want to miss another minute. But they forgot to give thanks to the source of all their good things. And most tragically, they missed the Savior Jesus.

We are very much like those nine lepers. So busy and occupied, we don’t pause to reflect in wonder and awe at God’s bountiful goodness. Every breath, every ray of sunshine, every stray moment of happiness is a gift. Let us pause and give thanks to God, most of all for the gift of Jesus.


Staff project: memorizing Colossians


As a spiritual exercise, the staff has challenged itself to memorize Colossians. All of it. Every single verse, word for word. What better way to "hide God's Word in our hearts" (Psalm 119:11) than to have it fully recollected in our memories?

To be perfectly honest, it's been both much harder than we imagined – you literally find yourself muttering Scripture in the shower, in line at the grocery market; it encompasses the whole day – and much more rewarding than we suspected. You begin to notice little details and connections. Suddenly grammar and syntax matters! You pay attention not just to the famous verses, but also to the surrounding context. And you notice even the littlest words and marvel at the meaning behind it. There are so many insights we'd love to share.

Next time, ask one of us – Becky, Christina, Michael, Nate, Tracy and Wade. We're memorizing 5 verses a week and we're currently near the end of Colossians 2. Only 2 more chapters to go!


Reflections on the cross


Recently, I’ve been reading The Crucifixion by Fleming Rutledge. Rutledge makes the great point that our historical distance from the first century Mediterranean world inures us to the absolute horror of Roman crucifixion.

And what we often miss is that the essential point of crucifixion was not that it was a long and agonizing death, but that it was for public display. Roman crosses were placed at major thoroughfares, trading crossroads or near city gates. Passersby would stop and gape at the condemned man; mockery and ridicule was encouraged and an essential part of the event.

The condemned man was stripped completely naked, lifted up on a wooden crossbeam, stretched out and exposed, and then slowly tortured. The prolonged death was designed to strip the victim of dignity and humanity. The assembled crowd would watch the victim writhe in pain, crying and screaming in agony. It was an utterly degrading and dehumanizing form of death.

The essential point was its very public nature. It served as a ghastly warning and a deterrent for anyone who would oppose Rome. Thousands of crucifixions occurred yearly throughout the Empire, and even little children were exposed to these public executions from an early age. It was unavoidable and seared into the memory. In the ancient world, crucifixions were not spoken of in polite company. The Latin word crux was equivalent to a curse word. It was the most horrifying way to possibly die. To be crucified meant you were cursed by God.

Here is the astonishing truth of Christianity. At its heart is a community worshiping a crucified man as lord and king. It is difficult to describe how vile and reprehensible this idea was to ancient peoples. And indeed, early Christian writers, like Paul of Tarsus, wrote about the scandal of “preaching Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23). Converts were subject to ridicule, persecution and even death. And yet almost immediately after Jesus’ death, there were thousands of early believers. How can this be accounted for? What historical explanation is sufficient for the rise of Christianity?

Only the resurrection of Jesus is historically strong enough to give a satisfying answer. Only the vindication and reversal of the verdict of the cross that rising from the dead provides can explain how Christianity not only begun, but eventually became the dominant religion of the ancient Mediterranean world.

by Pastor Michael Chung

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