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Monday Memo - March 25

This morning I was forwarded a blog from James White, a pastor in North Carolina. It is extremely relevant as Easter week is here. So I am forwarding it on to you!

It was from the imagination of C.S. Lewis that we were first exposed to a devil’s diabolical advice for the capturing of the human heart through the fictional correspondence between a senior devil, Screwtape, to his nephew, Wormwood.

Below is a freshly imagined correspondence, just intercepted, of course, related to Easter.

 

My dear Wormwood,

It is that dreadful time of year again when even those most firmly in our clutches find themselves maddeningly open to venturing into Enemy territory and attending a service celebrating that event-which-must-not-be-named.

Granted, we have been effective at neutralizing much of the threat this time of year poses to patients such as yours by ensuring the stupid humans go on vacation.  Making the time surrounding that event-that-must-not-be-named prime time for vacations and school breaks, was one of the more brilliant suggestions from our tactical division.

I am, however, concerned that this year you report your patient is staying home.  This makes him vulnerable.  If he goes at all, make sure it is to one of those sappy affairs that is all butterflies and sunrises, eggs and bunnies – all new beginnings and positive thoughts.

Sappiness we can deal with.

But it is best if he doesn’t go at all.  And certainly not to anything that would actually explain the event-that-must-not-be named!  I can barely even bring to mind that noxious moment when He refused to admit defeat at the hands of Our Father Below and resorted to trickery and deceit – and called it a victory!

We were cheated!

(I must calm down…I feel myself turning into a newt!)

This means you must be on guard against the Enemy’s more annoyingly earnest followers who would invite him to one of their pathetic celebrations.  Particularly the ones where someone might actually present things purely from the Enemy’s point of view!

We can’t afford a repeat of what happened with your former patient.  Need I remind you how you let her slip through your fingers?

Yes, I think I will.

First, you let her begin that friendship with that most awful of creatures, an actual follower of the Enemy.  Not one of the overbearing, obnoxious, self-righteous, legalistic types I actually recommend you bring into her orbit, but the most revolting kind of all; the likable, normal, authentic kind.

Oh, how I hate them!

It wasn’t long before they began hearing of grace (I can barely bring myself to write such a contemptible word!), the most powerful of the Enemy’s weapons and the one thing we try most to protect humans from understanding, much less believing.

Indeed, if you recall, it was precisely at this time of the year that she accepted an invitation from the aforementioned type of nauseating creature to precisely the kind of service I am warning you about.  And it was the worst possible kind – one where the event-that-must-not-be-named was not only celebrated, but the disgusting human who spoke even gave reasons to appeal to both her heart and her mind!

Her mind!

The one area we pride ourselves on owning, and have convinced the world one must abandon to even consider the Enemy!

This must not happen again.

Don’t rely on any of our departments brewing bad weather this weekend – even we can’t bring rain everywhere at the same time.  And the Enemy has a way of bypassing such efforts and luring them anyway.

(We aren’t really quite sure what happens when those idiots pray – it’s an area we have yet to be able to invade).

And don’t settle for mischief with the service itself (bad microphones and the like).  Have your fun with such things, but remember that you are not a junior tempter anymore!  Be a true warrior of the Father Below and rise to the occasion of preventing the Enemy of gaining any ground by keeping him away from any of those sniveling Enemy-lovers who would take it upon themselves to invite him to one of their revolting events.

Every day we lure more of their pathetic lives into our own ravenous desire that, in the end, consumes their very soul.  This is the satisfying route.  Yet the Enemy would have them as sons and daughters!

It makes me want to vomit.

So whatever you do, keep your patient safe.  The event-which-must-not-be-named must be neutralized!

All to say, it is a dangerous time of year.

Don’t disappoint me.

Your affectionate uncle,

Screwtape

I hope and pray that Screwtape will be VERY disappointed this weekend.

See you Saturday night or Sunday morning!

Grace and peace, 

Tom Oyler
Lead Pastor   

  


Looking Back

"Devotion"   Mark 15:42-47

It’s not a popular word, but devotion, especially to Christ, is the most prized of character qualities. It often takes a crisis for it to be revealed - moments like disagreements, hurts, and even death. The actions around the burial of the corpse of Jesus provide much insight into our own devotion to Christ.

THINKING IT THROUGH
(Agree/Disagree/Consider/Contemplate)

Without courage, all other virtues lose their meaning.

                ~Winston Churchill

Show me a person who is not an extremist about some things - who is a “middle-of-the-roader” in everything - and I will show you someone who is insecure.

                 ~G. Aiken Taylor

Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

                 ~Mark Twain

If I am following Jesus, why am I such a good insurance risk?

                 ~E.T. Campbell

WORKING IT OUT

1.   How attractive is being “devoted” to Jesus to you and why?

2.   Why do you think some people are more/less devoted than others?

3.   Spend some time alone with Jesus this week, speaking honestly about your level of devotion, and asking Him to increase the “purity of your devotion” to Him. (2 Corinthians 11:3)


Looking Ahead

"Unbelievable"   Mark 16:1-13

It is hard to imagine - the FIRST Easter, I mean. We know how the story ends. They didn’t! Try to read it from the perspective of the FIRST people who encountered the unbelievability of the events of this day. The question for us is, do we believe it today?

LOOKING IT UP

1.   Answer the questions, who, what, when, where, and why, using the details of vs. 1-3.

      What do your answers reveal about the assumptions and attitudes of the women on this morning?

2.   What did they see, feel, and hear in vs. 4-6?

3.   What is the significance of v. 7 to the women, the disciples, and Peter? (see 14:27-31, 66-72)

4.   What words intrigue you in v. 8 and why?

5.   What seems to be the theme of vs. 9-13?

6.   Why do you think they had such a hard time believing what they heard?


 

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