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Don't Miss the Move | Pastor Franklin Aytes




Sunday was Palm Sunday and just as the onlookers laid their coats and palm branches in the pathway of the LORD, Josh Munoz prayed,”We want to lay everything at the feet of Jesus.” May we lay our concerns, worries, and distractions at His feet so we can concentrate and honor Him.

 

Sunday was also family day, and each of the pastors came up and shared. Pastor Franklin Aytes as youth pastor said, ”The goal is to create a safe environment where the kids can experience Jesus.” Pastor Tim Maxwell, the young adults pastor along with his wife Maria, reported that new faces are joining them. They meet on Tuesday nights in LL1. Pastor Michel Espinoza leads the kids’ ministry with a full passion for the LORD and His children. Pastor Josiah introduced Justin Hawkins and his family who will lead an athletic discipleship  program. Justin wants to focus on coaching like Jesus, playing like Jesus and praying like Jesus. An open gym will begin on Wednesday nights from 5:00-6:00.

 

Our new youth pastor, Franklin, came up and  gave the message. He described himself as a “talk back” preacher. In other words he encouraged the congregation to participate not just listen to the sermon. He said,”Neighbor, ‘Don’t Miss the Move.’” He reminded us that the Word first needed to hit the preacher who can be transformed. Then the preaching can come from a place of change.

 

God is trying to teach us through the Triumphal Entry. Pastor Franklin explained,

”Tradition without understanding has no connection to the heart. Tradition without heart connection becomes a performance. I don’t want to perform for the LORD.” For “the heart posture dictates your perspective, and your perspective influences your response.” It goes back to the power of the Word as it transforms one’s life. The Word is living and is like a two edged sword. May we let it guide us, change us, and renew us.

 

Palm Sunday is covered in all four gospels:  Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-40, John 12:12-19, Matthew 21:1-11. Pastor Franklin encouraged us to read all four accounts. The themes associated with Palm Sunday are “victory, peace, kingship and emphasis on Christ’s humility.” The goal of Matthew’s book is to show that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and not just a prophet.

 

“Palm Sunday initiates Holy Week, where we reflect on Christ’s suffering, death, and His resurrection.” The preparation began when Jesus told the disciples to get the donkey and colt for Him. He instructed them,”If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ’The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” Matthew 21:3 (ESV) In application, Pastor Franklin said,”The Lord still has need of you.” What an astounding insight that the Son of God would and could use us. He has chosen you to carry things.

 

In Matthew 21:7 it states,”They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them.” (ESV) Jesus our king did not come on a prancing stallion.He rode on a humble donkey. “God’s desire is that we prioritize humility over magnificence.”

How countercultural that is. Jesus had the confidence of a king and humility of a servant. Just as when He washed His disciples feet, Jesus chose to humbly enter Jerusalem.

 

Matthew 21:9 tells us “And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting,’Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’” On that day the crowds gave the “proper response to the glory of God.” They praised and gave Jesus Christ honor. Pastor Franklin shared that the desire of his heart was to have praise stay on his lips, not to do church as usual. He wants Jesus to transform him. May we too keep praise on our lips, in our hearts, and in our minds. May our hearts’ posture be open to change through encountering Him in corporate worship and in reading, studying and applying His Word to our lives.

 

The significance of the Triumphal Entry is that “This event is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.”

 

“This took place to fulfill that prophecy that said,’Tell the

people of Jerusalem,’Look, your King is coming to you.

He is humble, riding on a donkey-riding on a donkey’s colt.’”

Matthew 21:4-5 (ESV)

 

Also “This event reveals that Jesus Christ is the Messiah.”

 

“And the crowds that went before him and that followed him

were shouting,’Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he

who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’”

Matthew 21:9 (ESV)

 

Hosanna says,”Please save us.” Now it means,”He is here. The Savior has set foot in the room.”

 

Finally the “event reveals conflicting heart postures.” Matthew 21:9 illustrated how the crowds praised Him and threw down their coats so that His ride did not have to step on the dirt. Then there were the Pharisees and religious leaders who were critical and negative. They told Jesus,”Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!” Luke 19:39 (ESV)

Of course, others were conspiring on how to kill Him.  

 

So we see two different types of hearts. One is the receptive heart-the “heart that is ready to receive.” The contrasting one is the resistant heart-the “heart that is closed off.” What if the LORD is trying to transform your heart through forgiveness? What if He is trying to show you grace, and you do not recognize it for what it is? If you harbor an offense, if you keep remembering and rehearsing  hurt, are you open to transformation and change?

 

”Your ability to receive something from God is dependent on the condition of your heart.” Jesus’ desire is to soften our stubborn hearts. Pastor Franklin recommended releasing three things in order to overcome a resistant heart. First, “you must release your expectations.”

The Pharisees and religious leaders had theological expectations. God appeared in a form that they did not expect or want. They missed the move of God. They misinterpreted how He would come, and they did not change their views when they encountered the Savior. Even when He performed healing miracles instead of rejoicing with the healed one, they  criticized the day it was performed or how He even healed the person. God is not obligated to come according to our expectations. Release your preconceived notions and embrace His sovereignty.

 

Secondly, “you must release your perspectives.” The Pharisees had legalistic expectations. They were very focused on the law and obeying it, such as the hand washing ceremony. It was not just sanitizing your hands before eating but a whole procedure. They had traditions on what Sabbath work meant. In contrast Jesus was/is against sin. He challenged the religious leaders’ laser focus on law obedience. The religious leaders disqualified people; whereas Jesus accepted and loved the marginalized, the lepers, the poor, the disabled, the children, the Samaritans. With whom do we identify-the religious leaders or Jesus? With whom do you want to associate-the judgmental religious leaders or Jesus?

 

Finally, “you must release your disappointments.” Jesus comes in and deals with our hearts. For God is greater than our disappointments. He is greater than our last argument. He is in love with you. You are His Beloved. He wants and can deal with your pain. You do not have to stay stuck in your pain. My counselor years ago told me,”Don’t camp in the land of sorrow.” Guess where we should camp? Are you there yet? He is waiting for you.

 

In conclusion, Pastor Franklin recommended that you make “a decision to have a receptive heart instead of a resistant heart.”  Will you recognize when Jesus is in our midst? Do you recognize Him moving? May we have receptive hearts that reflect His light in this dark and difficult world.

 

Calendar:

3/27 6:30 Midweek Encounter

3/29 6:00 Men’s CORE with dinner and speaker

3/29 8:00-12:00 Midnight Hour-a time of prayer, worship, submission to our King

3/31 10:00 Easter-He has risen!!!

 

Submitted by

Larry and Annette Linthicum

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