• God makes ugly beautiful in my life by Melanie Newton

    God Makes Ugly Beautiful

    Isn’t springtime delightful? The landscape seems to go from ugly and barren to beautiful as new life emerges. Practically every day, I go outside to my garden, pushing aside dried leaves to see what is coming back up from the ground after the cold winter. The contrast from the ugly barrenness of winter to the beauty of new life emerging in the spring inspires worship. Easter belongs in the spring, doesn’t it? Spring reminds us that God makes ugly beautiful. One Friday, almost 2000 years ago, something very ugly happened. Jesus, the sinless God-man who walked among us people, was hung on a cross to die. The beautiful son of…

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    Anticipating Holy Week – Preparing Through Lent

      We are in the middle of the Lenten season. Lent– in the traditional Church Calendar begins with Ash Wednesday – being reminded with the ashes of our mortality. Genesis 3:19 “for dust you are and to dust you will return”…and continues through 40 days before Easter. It is a season of reflecting, recalibrating, returning – accompanying Jesus to the cross on Good Friday then, as Holy Week concludes, celebrating His resurrection on Easter Sunday. As we consider this Easter story, a lamb appears in God’s narrative toward the beginning, throughout and is present at the conclusion.  The lamb in Exodus 12:1-13 was the sacrificial Passover lamb. One lamb was…

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    The First Day of Lenten Season

                              Today marks the first day of the Lenten season—the beginning of the 40-day period (excluding Sundays) that ends with Easter Sunday. On this Ash Wednesday—across the country and around the world—Christians from various denominations will commemorate this “Day of Ashes” by fasting and praying. Others will participate in ceremonies that will involve ashes marked on their foreheads in the shape of the cross.    For those of us who will participate in Ash Wednesday and Lent, we do so in anticipation of renewal and newness in our intimacy with God. We shift our focus towards spiritual reflection…