The End of All Things

Darkness and grief, shadow and death
The Hope that had been
Sags low without breath

Weak and alone, absorbing the pain
The one who was Love
Endures for my gain

“Forgive them,” he prays,
“Jews, Romans, all!”
Redeeming us from our sins and the fall

“It’s finished!” he yells
For his sons and his daughters
His life and his mission now lead to his slaughter

Giving it all, keeping naught in reserve
The Lamb takes my place
Taking all I deserve

The darkened sun hiding, the women are weeping
The earth loudly cracking, the curtain now ripping
Blood and water are dripping

The death of the Lamb is obscene, but predicted
The fog of great evil begins to be lifted
But first, the end of all things

The son of God dies.

“He left us!” they cry, confused and alone
“Our friend and our brother, terminated by Rome!”
“Our hopes have been broken, our dreams have been pierced.”
Disciples sit trembling, ashamed of their fears

Three quiet days come and go without Word
The King is nowhere and faith seems absurd
But behind the scenes now, the deep magic stirs
The plan before time finds its time and occurs

The broken world groans, the stone starts to move
Rome’s power now fractures, the Light’s breaking through
The splinters that pierced, pierced more than just flesh
They tore holes in despair, pushed back the darkness

The King wore his crown
Taking authority, striking Death down

Conquering sin, the grave, and all hist’ry
He gave up his life so all souls could see
The dawn of new life and eternity

The Kingdom has come!
The Lamb has been slain
Our sins have been wiped
Along with the stains

The Kingdom has come!
Christ is risen indeed!
Right here and right now, the
Beginning of all things



You can listen to the poem here or below:


How Holy Week Prepares You For Ministry

He is Risen!

He is Risen Indeed! After Christ’s crucifixion and the agony of Saturday this refrain never gets old.

Lent culminated yesterday—technically Saturday night at midnight for some churches, or early morning as the sunrises for others, or at any hour your tradition follows. Holy Week is rich not only for our faith, but for the ways Jesus taught his disciples about a life in ministry.

Earlier when they asked him to teach them how to pray, he did not hesitate. He taught them. I believe if they had asked him to teach them how to live a life centered on service and ministry, He would have pointed to Holy Week. The passages detailing the week in the Bible could be mandatory pre-field training and on-going training for each of us.


  1. Jesus will be recognized for who he is.
  1. Later, some who recognized him as Messiah will reject him.
  1. Jesus is a God affronted by injustice as he fashions a whip and goes after the moneylenders.
  1. Ministry requires patience, but a time may come that you need to curse the fig tree, so to speak, and move on. Fig trees take about five years to bear fruit. While Jesus was not using the fig tree as a time measurement, he does say fruit is one way to measure a project, team, or season.
  1. Learning from Jesus is important. Much of Tuesday is dedicated to Jesus’ final public teaching. What does he emphasize in his last lessons? In part, God’s heart for his children and how love will be a hallmark of His children.
  1. Silence. Nothing is recorded for Wednesday. In a week where we know more than any other week in Jesus’ life and ministry, Wednesday stands like a gapping hole. Ministry also can abruptly have silences from leaders, supporters, and teammates, even God Himself.
  1. There will be times to go broad. Take Tuesday. Jesus poured into the many as he taught.
  1. There will be times to go deep. Thursday evening finds Jesus with the twelve. Even though he knew his time with them was coming to an end, He invested in them until the very end.
  1. Betrayal is a part of ministry. Recounting Judas and Peter, neither or overly villanized, instead their actions are reported. We also see that not all betrayal is the same. Judas did not reconcile with Jesus this side of death, Peter did.
  1. Accusation is also a part of ministry. Jesus was falsely accused and paid dearly for it. If Jesus Himself was falsely accused, should we be surprised when we are?
  1. Jesus will serve you. Ministry is not only about us ministering to others. We too will have our feet washed by Jesus.
  1. Jesus will feed you. Take eat. Then He took the cup. Do this in remembrance of me. Ministry is a life of pouring out and feeding others. But do not confuse feeding others with feeding yourselves. Jesus will feed you; you do not have to feed yourself. He will be creating in feeding you, but it is not on to be fed.
  1. Death is a part of ministry. This side of heaven, death is woven into ministry. People die, relationships die, hope may die, even ministries may die.
  1. But death is not the final word, resurrection is. Somewhere, somehow, life will sprout.

Jesus never held back any punches on the realities of ministry, did He? He understood the blessings and cost. And because He loves us, He never tires of investing in us as ministers of the Good News.

Which of these 14 lessons stood out to you today? What is Jesus saying to you about that lesson?


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But I’ve done all these good things . . .


The question came as Jesus was beginning His last journey to Jerusalem. It came as He was heading toward His most heart-rending task, as He was starting the long descent toward death: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

We all know the story. A young, rich, religious man calls Jesus good and then asks Him how to achieve eternal life. Jesus first scolds him for calling anyone “good” but God. Then, feeling genuine love for the man, Jesus tells him to follow the commandments and proceeds to list several of them.

The man defends himself. “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young,” he says. But Jesus informs him that there is still something he hasn’t done – namely, to sell all his possessions, give the money to the poor, and follow Jesus. The man’s face falls when he hears this, and he goes away sad, for he was a very wealthy man.

I’d always glossed over this incident, thinking it might not apply to me. (I’d also neglected to notice until now that it occurred just before Jesus enters Jerusalem for the last time.) But this month as I again worked my way through the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, it suddenly struck me: the story of the rich, young ruler is my story.

“I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young” — once upon a time I said those words out loud, too. I’d just been confronted by my own sin, and I was shocked. I remember protesting, “But I’ve spent my whole life trying to follow God!” My statement was just another version of the rich, young man’s statement; it was just another version of pride.

And like the man, my face fell too. When I saw my attitude for what it was — sin — I did an abrupt U-turn. I interpreted my sin as the worst of all sins and became very depressed. My sin wasn’t a sin that could be forgiven, you see. A sin like mine didn’t deserve God’s grace and forgiveness. Where before I had thought I was better than others, I now thought I was worse.

I rolled around in my sorrow and self-pity until a friend gently pointed out that I was exhibiting reverse pride: the kind of pride that says my sins are so bad they can’t be forgiven. I had flipped from the regular old pride of thinking I was a good person to the insidious, upside-down version of pride that said I could never deserve God’s forgiveness.

But my goodness was never good enough anyway, and reverse pride is a sin to repent of, too. So Jesus basically said the same thing to me that He said to the young man: “There is something you still lack.” That something was a humble awareness of grace. Because in the end, Jesus didn’t ask me to give up all my possessions. (Moving to Asia isn’t the same thing.)

What Jesus has asked me to give up is the idea of myself as someone who has done good things. He’s asked me to give up the idea that I’ve followed the commands well. Because I haven’t. And He’s asked me to give up the idea that any sin is beyond His reach, including the prideful belief that I have no (or very small) sins.

As Jesus watched the man in this story walk away, He explained to His disciples how difficult it is for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of heaven. His announcement left the disciples wondering who in the world could be saved – because to a certain extent, we all trust in both riches and our own good works.

But here is where the story gets good, because Jesus told His disciples that “What is impossible for people is possible with God.” And He kept walking toward Jerusalem to make the impossible, possible. He kept walking toward Jerusalem to make the man’s question irrelevant. He kept walking toward Jerusalem to demonstrate His genuine love for us and to give a very un-good humanity the goodness that belongs to God alone.

Whether we’ve done “all these things” since our youth or not.