Tag Archives: Memorial Day

The Empty Tomb: The Foundation of our Identity and Mission

Pastor Danny Brooks of Heritage Bible Church spoke last night from I Corinthians 15 about The Empty Tomb. He opened with sharing of a visit he had made to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., on Memorial Day weekend a few years ago. He shared history and details of the changing of the guards, and the significance of the tomb. Then he said that that tomb is central to the identity and mission of the sentinels who guard it, no matter how they feel, or what the weather may be.

What a privilege it would be qualify and serve as one of those soldiers! And especially on a weekend when we honor those who have fallen, this tomb has a sobering weightiness to it of respect and gratitude for selfless sacrifice.

We as believers are also a people whose identity and mission centers on a tomb–but the tomb we focus on is an empty one! We are called to guard and declare a Gospel of a Risen Savior!

  1. The Empty Tomb is Foundational to Salvation
    • Acts 2:23-24
    • John 10:17-18 Christ showed the authority to lay down his life AND to take it up again (He rose!)
    • I Peter 1:3, 7 Our hope is tied to His resurrection–to His empty tomb! We are not promised an easy, pleasant, convenient life, but what we suffer now serves God’s eternal purposes
  2. The Empty Tomb is Foundational to Sanctification
    • He is alive and intent on making our salvation real, victorious, and successful!
    • Romans 6:11-14 Stop yielding to sin! Keep pressing forward until you believe the truths of Romans 6. Live like a resurrected child of God!
  3. The Empty Tomb is Foundational to Future Glorification
    • Romans 6:5 He WILL glorify us–promised, as if already complete!
    • Col. 2:20-23 Stop living a life of legalism, moralism, asceticism…You cannot save yourself.
    • Col. 3 Hear the Gospel. Respond in faith and repentance.  Set your minds on things above BECAUSE of the empty tomb and the Risen Lord!
    • I Peter 1:3 Living hope through the resurrection of Jesus!

Application: Is my identity and mission centered on Christ’s resurrection–on the empty tomb and the Risen Savior? Am I guarding and declaring the True Gospel of Jesus by my life, my words, my actions? Am I testifying to the world that I live in the hope of the reality of the resurrection? If not, then go back to I Cor. 15 and Colossians 3: hear the Gospel; respond in faith and repentance; and live in the glorious hope of salvation, sanctification and future glorification.

Happy Memorial Day! My heart is filled with gratitude for those who have sacrificed for our freedoms–and for those who are currently sacrificing to keep those freedoms. Thank God for our soldiers and their families!

Journey Journal: Days 129-148 (Catching Up)

Has it really been 20 days since I wrote a blog post?! My sincerest apologies, but “busy” does not even come close to describing the last three weeks! Don’t worry–there have been some moments of calm.

Day 129: Thursday, May 9, 2013

Today was an exciting day! Bryan officially changed his major to Culinary Arts today! Let the cooking begin…or continue, rather! This is one very excited wife! He’s been at Greenville Tech for the last year taking some basic courses, but starting in August, he’ll be in the Culinary program (great news: everything he’s taken so far actually applies to the new major!). This was a long process, but I am excited to see him pursue one of his greatest passions–food! Below is one of his most recent creations: a Curried Chicken BLT with a special sauce and fried egg!

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Day 130: Friday, May 10, 2013

Today, a 16-year old boy in our church, Todd Lurtey, lost his battle with cancer. It was a very sad week, and we will miss him very much, but we are thankful that he is no longer suffering and in the arms of His Savior! There are no words…just love and grief and prayers. One thing is sure: Todd is in heaven smiling with that big, beautiful smile next to His Savior. Todd was known for his smile–and as big as it was on earth, I can only imagine how huge his heavenly smile is!

The Lurteys have had a beautiful testimony through this incredibly difficult trial–through the pain and tears, through the questions and even sometimes doubt, they have shown the grace and trust in our great Savior; they have counted every day with Todd as a gift and blessed God. I just realized that exactly four years ago today was when Brenda first shared her testimony of the beginning of this trial. I am so thankful to be a part of our church family at Heritage–to see what the hands of Jesus look like–to see how the body of Christ

Day 131: Saturday, May 11, 2013

This morning, I got to babysit three of my nephews. Then my parents stopped by for a lunch of turkey burgers and salmon sandwiches. I was able to give my mom her Mother’s Day gift and chat for a while–the visits are never long enough! Then later today, we finally sold our motorcycle!

Day 132: Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother’s Day! Today’s 2nd grade Journey Group involved extra singing and creating special Mother’s Day cards with the kids. Neither of our moms were in town today, so after church, we headed to Paris Mountain State Park for a 5.5 mile hike! We went on some new-to-us trails and it was a really beautiful day!

Day 133: Monday, May 13, 2013

Today we heard of another friend who died last night. Grieving with those who grieve. Thankful that because of Jesus there is hope in despair, comfort in sorrow, and healing for suffering. May the peace of God, which surpasses understanding, guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 12:15; II Cor. 4:14-18; Phil. 4:7)

Days 134-136: Tuesday through Thursday, May 14-16, 2013

Excited to hear that GOGA studios bought out their franchise and changed the name to iVIVA (i for you and me, V for Vibration, I for infrared sauna, V for vitality, A for alkaline water)! I love the new name! If you haven’t checked it out yet, it is a fantastic and refreshing routine!

One of things I’ve missed the most since switching to a dairy-free diet is mac-n-cheese, so I tried a new recipe and was pleasantly surprised with this Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce. I used gluten-free spiral pasta, soy milk and nutritional yeast, and added garlic and dijon for an extra kick of flavor!

Read of the day: “Why God Gave Us The Church, Not Superman” – There is no such thing as “Super-Christians,” so go ahead and take your cape back to Goodwill, please.

Day 137: Friday, May 15, 2013

Worked till about 1:30, then closed up shop to attend Todd’s funeral. Though sad, it was a celebration of life in Christ. After the funeral, we packed up the car and drove down to SE Georgia for our niece’s high school graduation. Spent the night at Bryan’s aunt’s and uncle’s house–so nice to see them again!

Day 138: Saturday, May 16, 2013

Woke up early and headed to Ciera’s graduation! So excited for her as she closes this chapter and begins a new one. After graduation, we were able to spend a little while with Ciera and her folks before heading home for Sunday. It was a whirlwind trip but totally worth it.

Day 139: Sunday, May 17, 2013

Quote of the day: “The fuel of worship is a true vision of the greatness of God; the fire that makes the fuel burn white hot is the quickening of the Holy Spirit; the furnace made alive and warm by the flame of truth is our renewed spirit; and the resulting heat of our affections is powerful worship, pushing its way out in confessions, longings, acclamations, tears, songs, shouts, bowed heads, lifted hands, and obedient lives.” ~John Piper

Taught 2nd grade Journey group in the a.m. Hosted the Young Professionals class for pizza and salad for the evening. What a fun group! I think there were people in nearly every room of the house and on the front porch–talking, eating, playing Taboo, games on the Wii–it was fantastic!

Day 140: Monday, May 20, 2013

7 years ago today I married my best friend Bryan! So thankful for his love, his leadership, and his ability to make me laugh even on the hardest days. My cousin and his girlfriend gave us an amazing “thank you” gift card to The Lazy Goat–and we spent it all (and then some)! We had steak and parmesan truffle fries, fried goat cheese with honey and crushed pistachios (definitely ordering those again), Moroccan fried chicken with falafel waffles, and–our favorite–Duck, Duck, Goat pizza with duck meat, a duck egg, goat cheese, arugula, and balsamic soaked dried cherries! It was so nice to look out over the Reedy River and not have to cook (or clean up)–just enjoy one another!

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Days 141-144: Tuesday through Friday, May 21-24, 2013

Several busy days of work–lots of upcoming events, Dispatches sales, upgrading some technology stuff, etc. Friday night we were able to get together with two other couples for a fantastic Cashew Chicken stir-fry, a game of Settlers, and a dessert of fresh fruit topped with toasted nuts and Rice Krispies and drizzled with a raspberry puree. So much fun!

Day 145: Saturday, May 25, 2013

Brunch with our friends Jordan and Sarah! I made up a new recipe for Sour Cream Pancakes with Cream and Berry Compote toppings! I would share the recipe…but I’m pretty sure I want to save it for “The Cookbook” (thinking more and more seriously about writing one, so I’m starting to save up some recipes for the “testing” phase).

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My sister and her boys came over for a couple hours this afternoon–had fun playing Jenga and Wii with them! Went for a walk with Bryan, then randomly got together for a game of Dominion and coffee with our friends Nate and Leigh!

Day 146: Sunday, May 26, 2013

Really enjoying this group of 2nd graders in our Journey Group! Had fun talking about our Exalted God and applying it to their lives! Had a headache and it’s been a pretty exhausting couple of weeks, so Bryan took me to Panera for lunch–it was a nice treat! After evening service, we had several of the young adults over for a cookout. Bryan made his famous curry burgers, Laurie brought some fantastic homemade guacamole, and I made some potato wedges. We are really enjoying getting to know these friends!

Day 147: Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day! Had an absolutely fantastic day with Bryan’s side of the family. Started with blueberry pancakes at his folks’ house at 8AM and finished with a delicious BBQ dinner at his sister’s. After the long day, we came home, lit some candles and listened to some classical violin on the back porch, and shared our dreams for the future. So thankful for a man who is romantic and teaches me to relax all at the same time.

Day 148: Tuesday, May 28, 2013

After work, we came home and fired up the grill one more time for a dinner of ribs, baked beans, salad and chips with some dear friends from church. We are so thankful for Aaron and Marjeana and their love for Christ, their love for the people around them, the way they raise their children, and their passion for growing in grace and coming alongside others to grow in that same grace! For dessert, we had fruit and ice cream (well, they had ice cream–I’m still avoiding the dairy)–and we introduced them to balsamic vinegar as an ice cream topping! (I know it sounds weird, but the tiniest bit can be truly fantastic!) The kids played Wii while we reminisced and laughed and got to know each other a little bit better.

So, 20 very full days are behind us–days of sadness mixed with days of joy, mundane days mixed with days that symbolize major life changes, days of busyness and friends and family, but most of all days filled with seeing God work and learning to wait on Him and accept His gifts when He gives them for as long as He gives them. God is good–all the time!

“Never a Parade without Tears” by Aunt Cheryl

A Memorial Day Memory from My Aunt About Her Father…

“Somtimes you just have to write. . .

Never a Parade without Tears

“Grief can be defined as an overwhelming sadness over the loss of a loved one. To me it is more. It is remebering the things that I love about the person. These are happy and joyous thoughts, but they come out in tears. This morning in church I had one of those grief times. We sang several patriotic songs, and I was reminded that my father always cried at parades whenever a soldier walked by. As the band played, he always sang out ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ even though singing wasn’t his thing.

“As a child I thought the tears were just a grateful response to what the soldiers had done. The real story was quite different. Dad was a WWII Army Air Corp cadet in training to be a B-17 ball turret gunner (Very high mortality rate). While in training one day he heard a buddy humming a tune. When he asked what it was, the buddy said it was a hymn and went on to share Christ with my Dad. Dad accepted Christ and his buddy became a very important part of his life.

“They exchanged phone calls and Christmas cards every year. It became part of our Christmas tradition to listen to Dad share his testimony of salvation and share the Christmas card from his buddy, Eddie that had introduced him to the Lord.

“My Dad’s mom had suffered with dementia before she passed away. She would often become angry. This concerned my Dad as he grew older that he might have the same problem and become a poor reflection of the love of Christ. One Christmas Dad got a card from Eddie, but the handwriting was very poor. The next year the card was from Eddie’s wife explaining that Eddie had Alzheimer’s and didn’t recognize any of his family any more. He was in a vet home. The only thing that he did remember was scripture, and he had been named “Chaplain” at the home. This was a great comfort to my Dad, especially after he had his first stroke.

“The rest of the story.

“So why the tears at parades? WWII was life changing for my Dad. He had a very clear understanding of the sacrifices made by so many of his friends and commrads. He also understood that the position he was training for was a very dangerous one, but the war ended before he was sent abroad. But more than that, WWII was where and when he came to know Christ. So many lives were changed by death. My Dad’s life was changed by life. He couldn’t face a uniform without considering what his life was like before, and thus the tears of joy and gratitude to his buddy Eddie.

“So, with happiness and joy, I have a memory that makes me smile, but comes out with tears.”

~Cheryl