My Cross Church family, this Sunday is BIG! On Sunday we kick off Passion Week, an eight-day experience that will highlight events that took place during the final week of Jesus’ life. I want you to take time to review all I have written below, but before you do it, please know that everything leads to the climax of Passion Week: Easter weekend worship!
By the way, whom are you inviting to one of our Easter Weekend services? Please be intentional in the coming days and invite, invite, invite others! As you prepare to attend one of the services offered at the campus you attend regularly, pray for that service and invite others to join you.
As I said earlier, it all starts Sunday, March 24. So what will take place throughout Passion Week?
Palm Sunday, March 24:
On Palm Sunday, we will study “The Lord’s Supper: Remembering the Gospel of Jesus Christ” from Matthew 26:26-30, then we will observe the Lord’s Supper.
Monday, March 25 – Friday, March 29:
For five days, Monday through Friday, we will provide a noonday experience for our church members and the community. Each Passion Week luncheon will include a meal, a 10-minute worship experience through singing, followed by a 35-minute biblical message.
Over these five days, we will study the following . . .
Monday, March 25: “The Garden of Gethsemane: Jesus Christ Preparing to Die”
Tuesday, March 26: “The Betrayal of Judas and the Kiss of Death”
Wednesday, March 27: “The Denials of Peter and his Deep Regret”
Thursday, March 28: “The Scourging of Jesus Christ and the Final Hours Before His Death”
Friday, March 29: “The Crucifixion and The Death of Jesus Christ”
I encourage you attend as many of these luncheons as your schedule permits. Each day will be powerful and hold a special message. Purchase Passion Week lunch tickets here.
Also, daily shuttles will run from our Springdale and Fayetteville-Wedington Drive campuses to the Passion Week lunches. Free shuttle reservations can be made by calling 751-4523 (Springdale) or 695-5200 (Fayetteville).
Friday evening, March 29:
On Friday evening the Cross Church Worship Ministry will present “Reflecting on the Death and Burial of Jesus Christ” at our Pinnacle Hills campus. This will be a very solemn, dignified, and serious service that will lead us to remembering the death of Jesus Christ. On this evening, we will have a very powerful worship experience with the Cross Church worship choirs, which will be accompanied by the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas. Interweaving in this solemn service, I will lead us to meditate upon the life of Jesus Christ, focusing on the death of Jesus Christ, and then concluding with a talk about the burial of Jesus Christ.
Cross Church, this Friday evening experience will have a very unique climate and feel. We will even request you to not bring applause at any time during the service. We will be there to meditate on the death and burial of Jesus Christ. As we walk out, our hearts will be prepared to worship our Risen King on Easter weekend.
Saturday Night, March 30 and Sunday Morning, March 31:
On Easter weekend, at the 14 worship services across our four campuses, we will study “The Resurrection of Jesus Christ From The Dead” from Matthew 27:62–65; 28:1–15.
Those who walk with us through Passion Week will move from solemnity to celebration. On this coming Easter weekend, our people will have the most dynamic experience they have ever had during the Passion Week. We will see the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ because we have more fully understood the death and burial of Jesus Christ.
Yours for the Great Commission,
Right now many deadlines are pressing in on me. Has that ever happened to you? I remember when the only pressure I had was that of sermon preparation for Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. While those deadlines were pressing in on me weekly and it was real, it seems the longer I am in ministry the more deadlines I face.
I have the weekly deadline of Sunday sermon preparation but if I speak away from my church during the week, then responsibilities increase. Three weeks ago I preached on Sunday morning, spoke in Alabama on Tuesday, spoke in Missouri on Thursday, hosted and spoke at our Men’s Conference on Friday and Saturday, went through Sunday, and then left for the Holy Land on Monday.
Most of the way to Israel, I was working on church matters and preparing to speak to our tour group while in the Holy Land. While on the way home, sermon preparation was raging again and additional writing assignments, both for our church and others that serve the greater body of Christ, were looming. Deadlines. Deadlines. Deadlines.
Every pastor and leader I know experiences the pressure and inevitability of deadlines. For most of us, those deadlines have something to do with preparation. As I evaluate my life and schedule, I give most of my life to preparation. I am always preparing to speak, or write, or lead a meeting.
It occurs to me, that deadlines pressure and influence pastors and leaders continually. Therefore, what do you do when the deadlines are pressing in on you?
Let me suggest you take the following actions:
Prioritizing your commitments is imperative. I encourage you to take the time to list all the deadlines set before you. For a pastor, I believe our number one assignment is to feed the people of God from the Word of God. Great teaching and preaching will cover a multitude of your sins! Never let your preparation of teaching the Word slide. This is why I give my mornings to God.
Once you have written down all of your demands and pressing deadlines, prioritize. Determine what is first, second, and beyond. Operate and work your way down the list. Check off the accomplishments one by one. Any leader under pressure always does better when he knows progress is being made.
Preparation is the commitment to get “it” done and to get “it” done in the highest manner. Nothing eases the tension and pressure more than preparation. Therefore:
Prepare for the best.
Prepare for the worst.
Prepare for success.
Position yourself to finish the task. As you prioritize your demands and prepare to get your assignments done, you are positioning yourself for success one task at a time. As progress is being made on your to-do list and deadlines are being met, you are positioning yourself for peace rather than pressure.
We don’t talk about it much in ministry, but let’s get real; we are expected to produce! I have always identified with football coaches and I have been blessed to have many of them come through my ministry. Our church’s proximity to the University of Arkansas has afforded me many coaching friends over the years.
The one thing coaches and I have talked about is how people expect us to produce! While pastors do not have a scoreboard like coaches, people keep score on us daily. Most coaches and most pastors I know realize that if things do not go well and progress, sooner or later, it will not be good. There is a price to pay for success and there is a price to pay for a lack of success.
I know that I can be more productive when I prioritize matters that are pressing on me. When I refuse to quit and increase my commitment to prepare, God seems to get me through. As breathing room is experienced and latitude occurs, I position myself for greater productivity.
Daily I pray through various demands being placed upon me. Daily I pray through speaking requests away from Cross Church or writing assignments requested of me by the greater body of Christ. Daily I pray through all I have before me here.
Therefore, when I pray, my heart rests in the Lord. My pressure lessens. My peace grows. My intentionality is focused. And the deadlines fall one at a time! Giving everything to God and talking about issues and tasks specifically with Him, leads me to a life led by the Holy Spirit of God. This is my peace in the midst of the pressure.
Yours For The Great Commission,