Author Archives: Jill Osmon

The Resurrection

Delivery Day • The Resurrection
Jill Osmon | Assistant to the Lead Pastor

Luke 24:6-7
“He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 

Growing up in church, Easter was always a big deal. We always got new outfits, always looked really nice that Sunday, and the chocolate bunny was always an added bonus! I knew it was more than all of those things, but as a kid, who self-admittedly was very sheltered, the depth of what Easter was did not land in my mind.

As an adult, the weight of what Easter is, what we celebrate and recognize, should be humbling, it should be something that gives us hope and joy while understanding the sacrifice. Unfortunately, I find myself focusing on everything but that. I worry about events, about family, about clothes, and a slew of other well-intentioned things that are not important when compared to the resurrection. I am sure you have things that you focus on during this time of year that seem less important when you begin to remember what we celebrate this time of year. So I guess what I should say is what Easter should mean to me, how should Easter shape how I live my life.

Because of the foundational importance of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, I think we sometimes complicate it more than it is. Josh McDowell says it best, “Few people seem to realize that the resurrection of Jesus is the cornerstone to a worldview that provides the perspective to all of life.” Everything that we do should be through the purview of the resurrection. Acts 4:33 says, “And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.” God will give us grace; He will give us strength and hope and joy, all that we need to live a life that brings Him glory.

I am a pretty steady person; not much can knock me off the course I believe God has for me. I am not easily swayed, not easily emotionally manipulated, and not much can unsteady me. I wish I could say that steadiness is always based on the foundation of God and His goodness, but a lot of the time it is based on my strength, my work, and that fails 100% of the time. Charles Stanley says, “There is only one secure foundation: a genuine, deep relationship with Jesus Christ, which will carry you through any and all turmoil. No matter what storms are raging all around, you’ll stand firm if you stand on His love.”

That is what Easter means to me; it is that which I strive to have my life completely and assuredly attached. The resurrection, it is where our hope and joy comes from because without the resurrection our faith has no foundation. I love this quote, “No matter how devastating our struggles, disappointments, and troubles are, they are only temporary. No matter what happens to you, no matter the depth of tragedy or pain you face, no matter how death stalks you and your loved ones, the Resurrection promises you a future of immeasurable good” (Josh McDowell).

So this year let us challenge ourselves to realign where our foundation lies, that our hope and our joy comes from the one place that can always promise immeasurable goodness, that is Jesus.

Joseph or Jonah?

Joseph • Devotion #6: Obedience – Joseph or Jonah?
Jill Osmon | Assistant to the Lead Pastor

“When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.” Matthew 1:24-25

We have been looking at Joseph all week, and we end with his obedience. He found himself in an impossible situation; a difficult decision needed to be made. I am sure as he was looking at the options, he believed he chose the best possible path that both helped and protected Mary and removed himself from it. God had other plans.

God had other plans. It can be terrifying coming to that realization, it can be freeing coming to that realization, but that realization always means stepping out in faith. What do we do when we are faced with difficult situations? Do we listen to God? Do we try and make it go away with a nice little bow? Joseph, when faced with a command from God, chose to listen, even though it was difficult, even though it meant a monumental change to his life, he obeyed. He obeyed, not begrudgingly, but with reverence and honor toward God. Obedience can be ridiculously difficult, even for someone like me who is a rule follower, I still find it difficult to be obedient when it is uncomfortable or means doing something, quite frankly, I do not want to do.

I always think of Jonah when I think of obedience. In Jonah 1:1-2, God told Jonah to go to Ninevah, “Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.’” You continue to read, and you see that Jonah flees and goes far away from Nineveh. Knowing the whole story, seeing God’s redemption and Jonah’s inevitable obedience, makes me shake my head when Jonah flees multiple times and finds himself in the belly of a large fish. Why did he not just obey the first time? He knows God is sovereign, he knows God’s plan will overcome, yet he ran because he did not want to be uncomfortable. Can we be honest right now? Most of the time we are Jonah, not Joseph. We fight God’s will, we fight His commands, and then we are shocked to find ourselves in the belly of a large fish. See the difference between Jonah and Joseph is not disobedience versus obedience. Instead, it is how obedience with a humble and worshipful heart can change you, allow you to experience a life only the Creator of the Universe can provide.

If you keep reading Jonah’s story, you see that he obeys, and he gets to witness God rescue people that were headed toward destruction. Jonah 3:5 says, “And the people of Nineveh believed God.” God allowed Jonah to be the tool that brought thousands to the saving grace of God, yet Jonah was annoyed with God for using him. He knew God could have rescued them without him; he could have stayed in his comfortable life, without taking any risks. How many times do we see God’s amazing work and we get annoyed because it is inconvenient and uncomfortable for us? Joseph, however, obeyed, with joy and although he still had a difficult road, it was a road full of God’s love, grace, glory, and His Son. It was difficult and uncomfortable, but Joseph recognized the unimaginable honor to be used by God. So, how will you obey? Will you be a Jonah or a Joseph?

The Messenger

Ministry #1  November 13 The Messenger

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’ John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.  Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey.” – Mark 1:1-6

“And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.” – Luke 1:80 

God chose John the Baptist as His messenger: The one who would point everyone to the Messiah, the one who would baptize Jesus, the one who He formed and shaped for this role. John was the answer to the prophecy in Isaiah 40:3, “A voice of one calling: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’” He was shaped and created for a purpose. I do not know about you, but that brings me a lot of peace and a lot of joy. I remember growing up and thinking I wanted to be a teacher, for those who know me well now would probably laugh at that idea. I am not a teacher; God did not make me to be a teacher. He gifted me with other talents, and I believe that we are all created with talents and gifts. I think sometimes we are so focused on what we want to do and not what God has equipped us to do. Most importantly, though, is that no matter what He has shaped you to be, we are to use that to point people to Jesus.

“Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey.” – Mark 1:6

I have heard the saying ‘be in the world, but not of it,’ and I have always thought of John the Baptist when I have heard this. He dressed weird, ate strange things; he was not part of the world. But I believe this idea has lent Christians an excuse to huddle together and shun the world and in doing so has somehow created a message that we are better because we are separate. I read a blog the other day that talked about this concept and shed some light on it. David Mathis, on the Desiring God website, said this, “Jesus’ true followers have not only been crucified to the world, but also raised to new life and sent back in to free others. We have been rescued from the darkness and given the Light not merely to flee the darkness, but to guide our steps as we go back in to rescue others. So let us revise the popular phrase ‘in, but not of.’ Christians are not of this world, but sent into it. Not of, but sent into.”

John the Baptist was given the privilege to go before Jesus, we have the privilege of coming after Jesus and as Mathis said we have been “given the Light not merely to flee the darkness, but to guide our steps as we go back in to rescue others.”  John the Baptist was actively “proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”  We are the messengers now; we are to point people to Jesus, not by isolating ourselves but to actively share the Gospel.

Jill Osmon

Assistant to Lead Pastor

How to Give #4 – The Giving Garden

How to Give #4 – The Giving Garden
Jill Osmon | Assistant to Lead Pastor

It has been a little over 12 years since my grandfather has passed away. Twelve years, but there are still moments that I long for his advice, his guidance, and his unwavering love of people. My grandma and grandpa always had a huge garden when I was growing up. I always wondered why they did such a big garden, we had a big family but not that big, and then I encountered the reason for their gigantic garden. One Sunday, they started to unload their car full of baskets of vegetables and fruits and started giving them to people they picked up on the bus for church each week. I have a distinct memory of my grandfather, with a huge smile on his face, giving out something that had taken months of care, time, and money from him and his family. However, there he was, giving it freely and with such a joy, I still remember it to this day.

I have kept that memory and that lesson of that day in the back of my mind for a long time, and I remember it every time I read 1 Corinthians 9:6-7, “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” We hold back so much of our time, our money, and our love because we want to keep it ourselves. I am sure there were times that going out and maintaining a huge garden was tedious, time-consuming, and expensive, but my grandparents had figured out something that we all need in our lives. They learned that giving joyfully, purposefully, and sacrificially not only benefited those they gave to but it benefitted them as well. Maybe not in the traditional sense but they knew giving with intention honored God.

We have been talking about money the last few weeks, a topic that can be sensitive at times but I believe the concept of giving, being a cheerful giver, goes beyond money and includes our time, our efforts, and our care. Next time you have the opportunity to give, remember that we are to give cheerfully, not reluctantly, and we will reap abundantly!

Man Gots to Know His Weakness

Servant #4 – Man Gots to Know His Weakness
Jill Osmon | Assistant to Lead Pastor

Servitude, sacrifice, and humility are not something our culture tends to affirm or even recognize, but it is something that we are called to do by God. Jesus, being fully man and fully God is the best picture of the ultimate sacrifice, which is, of course, the cross. Leading up to His impending death, however, Jesus battled with the sacrifice He knew He had to make. He understood, being fully man, the pull of the flesh and the pull of His Father to do what He was sent to do. As I read over the verses in Matthew 26, one part jumped out at me in verse 41, “… The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

I found such comfort in these words. Jesus, even in one of His darkest hours, understood the pull of our flesh and warned us. It was a perfect moment that showed His full awareness of our humanity. This is the tension we live in, here on earth. Paul says it perfectly in Galatians
5:17, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”

Sometimes the difficult part of living out our faith is not the lack of knowledge on what to do but instead, knowing what we should be doing, having a desire to do it, but still, our flesh fails, and we give into the very base of our humanity. In Matthew 26, Jesus warns His disciples and gives instructions on how to avoid the flesh winning, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation…”  What temptation is He speaking of? The flesh winning, even when we want to do good. If we do not prepare and we are not ready, then our flesh will win.

The Bible continually speaks about us being a servant for Him (John 12:26; 2 Timothy 2:24; 2 Corinthians 6:4; Romans 6:22). We fight it because our world and our culture do not uplift sacrifice and servanthood, but instead pushes us to feed our most basic fleshly desires. However, let’s not forget Jesus’ tender words to His disciples, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Remember that even Jesus was tempted to let His flesh win, but He was active and in constant prayer with His Father. That is what helps guard us against a weak flesh, being active in His Word and prayer. Dig into His Word, pray, and be ready to fight the flesh, because even if our flesh fails us, we know we have a God who is powerful, loving, and He will never fail us.

One of my favorite songs is “Give Me Faith” by Elevation Worship, “And I may be weak but Your Spirit’s strong in me; my flesh may fail, but my God, You never will.”

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