Preparing our hearts

I hope you enjoyed last Sunday as much as I did!  The Masters at ABC was a big hit, and I do want to thank everyone who helped make it happen.  Derek Tackett and our facilities team did an outstanding job building and setting up our golf attractions, Nathan Wood gave great vision for the event, and Jennifer Wilcoxson and her food service team helped put together our memorable donut wall.  It was fun watching people of all ages laugh and fellowship together all morning long in God’s house.  I’m also so proud of the 100+ volunteers who gave up their Saturday to serve as the hands and feet of Christ last weekend.  Our missions committee did an outstanding job organizing our ABC Serves event, and I loved seeing our yellow shirts scattered throughout Austin to serve our community.  Thank you to everyone who participated and to all who helped organize this impactful day of ministry.

This weekend marks the kickoff to Holy Week at ABC.  This Sunday we will have special Palm Sunday worship services featuring beautiful music, a performance from our children’s choir, and a message centered around Jesus’ triumphant entry to Jerusalem.  It’s important for us to prepare our hearts for this coming week as we celebrate the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I’d recommend we follow the example of David in the coming days, as he tells us, “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast!  I will sing and make melody!” (Psalm 57:7).  David said his heart was steadfast, or fixed, on the Lord.  His heart’s focus was not wavering or moving in various directions.  He chose to give God his full attention and his full devotion, regardless of what was happening around him.

This is worth noting because David is hiding from Saul in a cave. As you may remember in this passage, Samuel privately anointed David as a King, yet he was still far removed from the comfort and luxury of a throne.  The present king, Saul, was hunting David as he recognized the threat to his own kingship.  This led David to run and spend many nights hiding in the darkness of caves.  Nonetheless, he chose to keep his heart fixed on the Lord amidst his trials.  He would not allow the present darkness and distractions to rob him of worshiping the Lord.  While none of us are physically hiding in a cave, I think it’s fair to say that we are all facing our own battles and threats this week.  Some are facing threats of sickness and disease, while others are grieving the loss of loved ones.  Some of us are in the battlefield of fractured relationships, while others are experiencing financial loss.  All of us have concern over the affairs of our country, and of course our hearts are burdened over what is transpiring in Ukraine.  Nonetheless, it’s important that our hearts stay focused and remain steadfast on the Lord this coming Holy Week.

Holy Week provides an opportunity for you to worship and remember Jesus Christ for who He is and what He’s done.  Don’t step into this next week lightly, but instead, be intentional in fixing your heart on Christ.  First, take time to prepare your heart.  Spend extra time in His Word next week.  I encourage you to read through the passion week accounts in all the Gospels.  Also, turn to 1 Corinthians 15, and spend time reading and meditating on perhaps the greatest resurrection chapter in the Bible.  Let your mind by renewed by the truth of the passion account and prepare yourself for Easter.  Secondly, pray from your heart.  Commit to pray more often this coming week.  Set reminders on your phone if you need to.  Pray prayers of confession and thank Jesus for His constant grace.  Pray prayers of petition for the things that are heavy on your heart.   But most of all, pray prayers of thanksgiving for Christ giving you a new heart to pray from.

Third and finally, I encourage you to invite people on your heart.  Each of us are ambassadors for Christ, and I have no doubt that God wants to use you to reach those who are around you.  Invite people to join you at Palm Sunday, Good Friday, or Easter.  God puts people on our hearts for a reason, and you never know what God may do through one simple invitation.  Easter is the perfect opportunity to engage those who are not regulars in the church.  Let others know that you love them, and that you’d like to bring them with you as your guest for this special celebration.

God is going to do a great work this coming Holy Week.  Set your heart on Him and may we all come into His house ready to “sing and make melody” just like David.  Have a great week and I’ll see you in worship this Sunday.

Onward and upward,

Jonathan Spencer

Last Sunday’s Sermon: Jesus is Better – “Better Living” – Hebrews 13

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