Saturday, March 26, 2016

What A Week

The time of year is upon us. You know the one. Easter. The time to celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There had to have been times in your life that you try to think about what was going through Jesus' head during his last week on Earth. Let's start from the beginning.
Palm Sunday. The day Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a lowly donkey. The people see Him coming and they begin to lay their cloaks on the ground at the donkey's feet and say "Hosanna, Hosanna, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna, Hosanna.
Monday. Jesus enters the temple. He sees the people selling goods, as if the temple was just another place to make money. He gets a little angry and begins to flip the tables of the vendors and says to them," This house is a house of prayer, yet you have made it a den of thieves.
Tuesday. Jesus is teaching to the people on the Mount of Olives. Here he gives the parable of the sheep and goats.After these things, he curses a fig tree for not bearing fruit. The tree immediately withers away In the evening, A prostitute woman comes to where Jesus and the disciples are staying and she anoints his feet with costly perfume. He tells his disciples that in two days, the Passover celebration, He would be delivered up to be crucified. It is at this point that Judas Iscariot goes to the chief priests and asks them how much they would pay for him to deliver Jesus into there hands.
Wednesday. Jesus is back in the temple and the priests question by what power he does these things. He responds back by asking them," John's Baptism, was it of man, or of God?" The priests were stuck and could not answer. "Neither will I tell by what authority I do these things." He goes on that day to teach the crowd many parables.
Thursday. Passover. Jesus tells two of his disciples to go into town, and a man carrying a water pitcher will lead them to an upper room where they would prepare for the Passover feast. Before the meal, Jesus washes the disciples feet, and commands them to do likewise to one another. During the feast, Jesus takes the bread and breaks it, saying,"This is my body, take and eat." then he takes the cup and says,"This is my blood, take and drink." This is the first communion. After the disciples take the cup, He looks at Judas and tells him that the time to do what must be done is now. The disciples don't realize how soon their leader will be taken from them. it is at this time that Jesus takes his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. 3 times, he goes a stone's throw away from the disciples and prays this prayer, "Father, take this cup from me, but not my will, but your will be done Lord." His praying gets so intense, his sweat becomes drops of blood. After each prayer, he comes back to his followers and finds them asleep. After the 3rd time, He commands them to rise,"See my betrayer is at hand." Judas comes with a crowd of people and hands Jesus over to them. The disciples scatter in fear of capture or death. Peter, the disciple, follows close behind and as Jesus is being questioned by the Sanhedrin, Peter denies knowing Him 3 times, as Jesus had predicted earlier that night.
Friday. After a night of beatings and scourging by the priests to Jesus. Jesus is brought to Pontius Pilate to settle his fate, and as was the custom of the day, Pilate released one prisoner back to the people. Between Jesus and the other prisoner, Barabbas, the priests convince the crowd to release Barabbas and have Jesus crucified. All the way to Golgotha, Jesus is forced to carry his cross to where he will be crucified. He is nailed to the cross and darkness falls on the land for 3 hours. It is at this point that Jesus says the most loving thing he could in this moment. "Father, forgive them. For they know not what they do." Wow. These people just sent him to die, and here he is forgiving them, knowing this has to be done in order to save them all. Jesus gives up his spirit and hangs there dead until he is placed in a tomb by Joseph of Arimethea.
Saturday. Jesus' body rests in the grave. In fear of the disciples, Pilate commands guards to be placed on watch at the tomb, so no one can come steal the body and claim resurrection. The disciples are hiding, also in fear of the people who might come after them because they were followers of Jesus.
Easter Sunday. Early in the morning, a group of ladies go to the tomb to prepare Jesus' body. Upon arrival, they see the guards gone and the stone that was placed in front of the tomb now rolled away. They go in to discover that the body is gone. The women run to where the disciples are and two of them go to check it out for themselves and see it just as the ladies described it. He is risen. He rose just like he said he would.

Ever feel like you have a week like that. Lot of action some days, nothing happens on others. Jesus demonstrated his true love for us through this week. At any time during the beatings, the mocking, the crucifixion, He could have called down a legion of angels to rescue him, but instead, he endured the pain, bearing the weight of every sin, past and future, on his shoulders and gave his spirit to save ours. His purpose for coming down from Heaven was fulfilled and now we can have salvation through the one who is calling us home.
In the excitement of the egg hunts and candy this weekend brings, let us not lose sight of why we celebrate. We are celebrating way more than any chocolate bunny will bring. We remember the ultimate sacrifice given to you and me and every person in between.

Happy Easter and God bless.

Adam Semple- a young man on a mission from God.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Tuba Warrior

We have all heard the story of Gideon, son of Joash. The man who was found by God beating wheat in a winepress out of fear, called a mighty man of valor. God calls Gideon to lead an army of men and attack the opposing people of Midian, who had for seven years treated Israel as slaves. At first, Gideon is confused. "Me, lead an army, against MIDIAN? My family is the least of my tribe, and I am the least of my family. Surely, you made a mistake when you called me, God." Have you ever had these thoughts. God calls you to a task yet you assume he made a mistake and should have called someone else. We don't know why God called Gideon, but whatever the reason, God knew what he was doing then, and he knows what he is doing now as he calls you. Anyway, back to Gideon. After God tells him what he wants him to do, Gideon asks God to do a few tests, you know, just to make sure. Gideon spoke to God, saying, "If you are going to deliver Israel, through me, as you have spoken, behold I will put a fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, I will know that you will deliver Israel through me, as you have spoken." Of course, the next morning, Gideon found the fleece just as he asked, enough dew to fill a bowl full of water. "O, God" said Gideon, "Do not let your anger burn against me, but i will lay the fleece out again tonight and tomorrow, if the fleece is dry, but everything around it is wet, then I will know that you have called me." So the next morning, Gideon again found it as he requested. Ok. Now Gideon is on board here. Time to rally the troops. Gideon pulls together an impressive army. An army surpassing 32,000 men. Alright, here we go. With the amount of men we have, the army might still be a challenge, but we are large enough that we can do defeat them. Wait? What? Too big? How can we be too big? The bigger the better, right? No? Ok, God. "If you are terrified of this battle, go on home." Apparently, Midian had to have been pretty impressive, because 22,000 men left, leaving 10,000 to stay and fight. Ok, lets do this. Fighting the army with 32,000 would have been easier, but I beleive me and these 10,000 men will be up for the challenge. Here we...What? Your kidding me? Still to many? God you must be crazy. The Midianite army surpass us 10 to 1 and you are telling me we still have to many? Ok, God. If you say so. "Ok, men, take five and go get a drink from the stream.""How will I know who to keep and who goes. Wait, Those 300 men are drinking the water in a civilized way, yet the other 9,700 are licking it up like dogs. Ok, God, 300 it is. This makes sense now. The bigger my army, the less glory you get and the more boastful we get. But right now, I have 300 men. No one would believe that me and 300 men took on the whole army of Midian. You shrunk down my army in order that you get the glory. I'm ready Lord, give me your plan. God tells Gideon to split his men into 3 sections, a 100 men to each. Give each man a lit torch and an empty vessel. Have the men positioned around the enemy's camp and when you blow the trumpet, each man must break their vessel that is over their torch and blow their horns. Gideon tells this to the people and they begin to get ready for battle. On the night they plan on taking Midian, God calls Gideon over to the camp. Gideon overhears a dream being spoken between two Midianites. Here is what was said,"Behold, I had a dream. A loaf of barley bread was tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came to the tent and struck it, so it fell, and turned it upside down so the tent laid flat" His friend replied saying," This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon, son of Joash. God has given Midian into his hands". Yeah, Confirmation. Gideon had seen the test and now heard the vision. I can imagine he was pumped for this battle. He had no idea what God was going to do, but he had full confidence that he would do something unforgettable. So Gideon goes to his place with one unit of men, breaks the vessel, blows the trumpet and proclaims," For the sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. The men follow suit, and pretty soon, 300 trumpets are blowing and torches are waving and a war cry is being shouted. This causes mass confusion in the Midianite camp, and they begin slaying themselves, thinking they are under full attack. Not one Midian survived. How cool is that? Not a single sword was drawn from Israel, yet every enemy was slain that day.

God is calling you to crazy things. and it may seem like he is given you just enough resources to get by. but even when you only have a small army, God has got the armies of Heaven ready to fight on our behalf. He is simply waiting on us to answer the call and Listen to his plan.

To God be all the glory, forever and ever- Galatians 1:5

Adam Semple- a young man on a mission from God.

*photo credit- Veggietales- Gideon Tuba Warrior

Friday, March 11, 2016

Follow Christ, Not Yourself

"All to Jesus I surrender; all to him I freely give; I will ever love and trust him, in his presence daily live. I surrender all, I surrender all, all to thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all. 

All to Jesus I surrender; humbly at his feet I bow, worldly pleasures all forsaken; take me, Jesus, take me now. 

All to Jesus I surrender; make me, Savior, wholly thine; fill me with thy love and power; truly know that thou art mine. 
All to Jesus I surrender; Lord, I give myself to thee; fill me with thy love and power; let thy blessing fall on me."- All to Jesus I Surrender- Hillsong

To surrender means to raise the white flag, throw in the towel, put down your weapons. It is the giving up of yourselves into the hands of another. In many cases, surrendering is done as an attempt at saving lives.When a general lays down his arms and goes into the enemy camp, he wants peace and freedom for his men, even if it means he loses that same freedom in order to get it. You could, in a sense, say that Jesus surrendered himself for us when he willingly went to the cross. He knew that without his sacrifice, we could never return to the father. Sin, our eternal enemy, attacked us on all sides, and would have eventually won out on top. So Jesus did the one thing that could hopefully save us all. He took our place. "Its me you want Satan. Let my people go, and you can have me. Unfortunately for you, I will still crush your head under my heel in the end". This act of surrender leads us up to the largest cell break in human history. People from centuries earlier were set free from the bondage of hell and brought back to the kingdom, and the door was made open to millions of people who accepted his gift. 

God wants us to lay down our lives in the same manner and surrender ourselves to him. In says in Luke 9:23 that if an man is to follow Christ, he is to deny himself, pick up his cross and follow him. This is pretty straightforward. If you want to follow Christ, stop following yourself. As long as a general thinks only of himself, his army will be destroyed and many lives taken. Only when the general surrenders himself do lives get saved and men returned to their families.   

If you are constantly following your own desires, you will end up like Winnie the Pooh seeing a set of footprints in the snow, that were his to begin with, and assuming they were placed there by someone else. Until we look to God, those footprints will continue to circle the same mountain and we will never move forward. It is only after we surrender to God's will that the path is made straight and we can clearly see who is leading the pack. Surrender your heart and your feet will follow down the path they need to go.

God is waiting for us to surrender completely to his will. To those of you who have, congratulations, you can see your walk and the one leading it. And to those who have not fully surrendered, it is time to do that now. Give him your all, the good the bad and the ugly. He can handle everything we give him even when it does not look pretty to the eyes. Take a leap with me and surrender your heart to the guide who is waiting to lead you down your set path.

Adam Semple- a young man on a mission from God

photo credit-

Saturday, March 5, 2016


You’ve heard the phrase,” If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?”. What if in life, you are the one who needs to jump first? What kind of reaction would you be putting out if everyone around you told you not to jump, but God was telling you to leap? That’s right. LEAP. This is not a small jump with little to no after effects. This is a leap off of a constantly expanding distance that only God can catch you from. A leap from comfort. A leap from safety. A leap from everything you were once used to. This week, my family has leaped. We have left the old ledge and are now midair, waiting to land on the other side.  Like most faith walks in life, this can be terrifying. But at the same time, the rush of adrenaline and exhilaration completely flood your body, and in your state of terror, you are equally excited for what the other side has to offer. You know at some point, gravity takes effect, and you either fall into nothing, or you land firmly with your feet planted on the solid ground of the new side. When you leap without God’s command to do so, you are going to fall short, and if you make the distance, you have to hang on and try to pull yourself up. Yet when God says its time, go for it. Because He will carry you safely across the nothingness and land you right where he wants you.
We get so comfortable in life just standing on the edge. Maybe from our viewpoint, we can see the other side, our promise from God. Instead of jumping towards it, we back off the ledge just enough to quiet our fear. Or maybe we have looked down and saw into the abyss below and we can’t move.  But then we look again at our promise. We see everything God has for us, and we are filled with excitement for what is to come. But even then, our fear of falling has kept us from our faith. We might not think God big enough to carry us to where we need to be, so we stay in the comfort. We settle for temporal provision rather than eternal promise.
What might be examples of your leap? Perhaps it is praying as Daniel did, even though he knew if he got caught, he would be fed to the lions. Or turning down a nice paying job because God told you to volunteer you time to someone who can’t pay you a dime. Picking up your family and moving from everyone and everything you know, because you know in your heart you are not doing what you are called to do in the place where you currently are.
God says it is time to Leap. Are you going to back away or crouch down and prepare to fly into your promised land? My family has leaped. Are you ready?

Adam Semple- a young man on a mission from God.

*photo credit-