8 DAYS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD

We invite you to join us over the next 8 days for a special 'Start to Finish' daily devotional! 

Check back every day for a new devotional word from the staff of Hope Church. 

EASTER SUNDAY - HE IS RISEN! JESUS IS ALIVE!


Fly the W!

Let’s talk about what it means to be undefeated. It’s really difficult to go undefeated (in sports and in life).
• The 1972 Miami Dolphins did it, 14-0 (17-0).

• Rocky Marciano did it as a boxer 49-0.


An undefeated season in sports pales in comparison to the undefeated life of Jesus Christ:


• He was undefeated at birth when King Herod sought to kill him.
• He was undefeated as a teenager. He grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and all others. He never sinned!
• He was undefeated in the wilderness when (after 40 days of prayer and fasting) Satan tempted him three times and every time Jesus overcame.
• He was undefeated in the Garden of Gethsemane when he sweat great drops of blood and prayed to His Father, “Not my will but Thy will be done.”
• He was undefeated during the horrific beatings and flogging he received at the hands of the Jewish leaders, then King Herod and then Pontius Pilate – he did not cave in – he did not turn back.
• He was undefeated on the cross where he spoke those seven amazing life-giving phrases even though he was in unbelievable agony.
• He was undefeated on the first Easter Sunday when death could not keep Him down and the Spirit of God entered that tomb and filled His body and Jesus rose from the dead.


Paul writes, "Jesus was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 1:4


Jesus is undefeated to this very day! For on this Easter Sunday thousands of people will become born-again followers of Jesus Christ! And billions of people will worship Jesus as their Savior!


Jesus promises, "To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne." Revelation 3:21


Somebody reading this needs a W today! 

Be encouraged, His victory is your victory! Through faith in Christ you will overcome!


Today's devotional was written by our Lead Pastor, Hal Kooistra. We hope to see you at 9am or 11am on Easter Sunday!

day 7 - the tomb

The Tomb – When You are in that Dark Place – Luke 23:44-56


Have you ever spent a season of your life in a dark place? A place where hope is a small thin cord that you are grasping for? I have. In 2012 my vibrant healthy life was shattered by a diagnosis: cancer.


I went into a quiet place of prayer and waiting on God. I went through a rigorous round of surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment. For the first few months I would wake up every day with questions and silence. My soul went to a deep place with my Savior until finally, all my trust and confidence was in His hands. I began to worship through the pain.


Sometimes I think the disciples must have felt exactly this way on the Saturday after Jesus death. Can this be real? Is this really happening? But wait, this wasn’t the plan…a cold dark tomb with a stone rolled across the entrance. The disciples were grasping for a small thin cord of hope. That’s how it looked on Saturday.


BUT THEN SUNDAY – a tomb-shattering earthquake, a bright angel, the message “He is not here, He is risen,” and coming face to face with Jesus, alive and well! The resurrection makes all the difference! Jesus overcame it all – sickness, death, depression, addiction, hopelessness, loss. I can testify to the fact that I also had a resurrection of life and health through Jesus Christ.


He has given me a new season of health and I wake up every day with anticipation of what God has planned for me! If you have been in that dark place I ask you to go to the empty tomb like the disciples on that early Easter morning. See the radiance of His risen presence, run into His waiting arms, believing that He will do the same resurrection in your dark place. The empty tomb still speaks.


Today's devotional was written by our director of Missions and Women's Ministries, Dawn Kooistra. We hope you'll join us on Easter Sunday at 9 and 11am.

day 6 - seven words from the cross

SEVEN WORDS OF GOOD NEWS FROM THE CROSS


Today our focus is entirely on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! As we approach Easter Sunday let me draw your attention to those seven amazing statements Jesus spoke while hanging on the cross.


"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34)

This first saying is a Word of Forgiveness. One of the most difficult things for us to do is to forgive a person who has deeply hurt us. Jesus is our supreme example when it comes to forgiveness. We are most like Jesus when we forgive!


"Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43)
His second saying is a Word of Salvation. Jesus came to seek and to save lost people (Luke 19:10). Jesus extends salvation to the thief hanging on the cross next to him. We are most like Jesus when we share the Good News of salvation with those who are perishing.


"Woman, behold your Son . . . Behold your mother." (John 19:26-27)
This third saying is a Word of Relationship. Even in his agony, Jesus was concerned for his mother. He knew she was going to need relational support in the days to come so he asks his dear friend, John, to look after her. We are most like Jesus when we prioritize relationships.


"My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46)
His fourth saying is a Word of Sacrifice. Jesus allowed himself to be forsaken by God so that we might be accepted by God. He gave the greatest sacrifice on our behalf. We are most like Jesus when we make personal sacrifices for the sake of others.


"I thirst." (John 19:28)
This fifth saying is a Word of Honesty. Jesus always spoke the truth. He never lied. He never exaggerated. We are most like Jesus when we speak the truth in love.


"It is finished." (John 19:30)
His sixth saying is a Word of Victory! Jesus had finished his mission. He paid the price for our sin with his own blood and life. We are people who believe in the finished work of Christ on the cross! Sin and Satan have been decidedly dealt with. We are most like Jesus when we live in victory over sin.


"Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." (Luke 23:46)
The seventh (and final) saying is a Word of Trust. As Jesus breathed his last breath he expresses his trust in the Heavenly Father. He knew his life was in good hands. We are most like Jesus when we trust in God.


Today's devotional was written by Lead Pastor Hal Kooistra. We hope you'll join us on Sunday for Easter service at 9 and 11am!

Day 5 - the last supper

For today's devotional, turn to Luke 22:7-38

Everyone loves a great meal?  What’s more, everyone loves a celebratory meal.  If you’ve spent any amount of time in a church setting, you’ve likely attended a church potluck, banquet or dinner of some kind.  Growing up in the church, I always look forward to a great church potluck.  Christians love to get together to enjoy fellowship and food!  Therefore it’s fitting that the entire historical scope of Christianity is bookended by two celebratory meals.

 

This Easter, many of us will sit down with family and loved ones to enjoy a meal celebrating Christ’s resurrection.  But before Christ’s resurrection came “The Last Supper”.

 

In each of the gospels, we read an account of the most famous meal ever.  The Last Supper was a traditional meal commemorating the first day of the Jewish holiday, Passover.  It’s from this meal that we observe the ordinance of communion. As we know, it’s also the first of a 24-hour series of events that culminates in Jesus’ crucifixion the next evening. 

 

In Luke 22:7-38 we read an account of this meal that Jesus shared with his disciples.  Jesus already knows what is in store for him; that he will be betrayed, and eventually crucified.  But he also lets his disciples know that there is actually one more even greater celebratory meal yet to come.  In Luke 22:15-16, Jesus says to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.  For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”  Jesus is referring here to “the feast in the kingdom of God” (See Luke 14:15 and Matthew 8:11), also known as “the wedding supper of the Lamb” (see Revelation 19:9); the greatest dinner party ever held!  Anyone who believes and receives Christ is invited to this Heavenly feast! 

 

One day later Jesus died on the cross for the sins of all mankind.  When that happened the invitation was sealed and sent, open to anyone who receives!  Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we can look forward to joining him in the best church potluck ever held in all of eternity!

Today's devotional was written by our Assistant Pastor, Josh Kloes


Day 4 - Last & First: Women encounter the savior

Today, turn to Matthew 27:55-61, and Matthew 28:1-10.


Women played a major part in the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The women who followed Jesus were some of the last to stay at the crucifixion. Matthew 27:55 says that MANY women were at the crucifixion, watching from a distance. Imagine standing among these women in the shadow of the cross, all your hopes and dreams seeming to come to an end. At the end of that dreadful day, Mary and Mary Magdalen were the last ones present when Joseph of Arimathea put Jesus’ body in the tomb.


After the Sabbath Day of rest, the women were the very first at the empty tomb on Easter Sunday. They were the first ones to hear the message “He is not here, He is risen.” The angel entrusted them with a message “Go and tell”. They were the first to meet the Risen Savior along the way! They were the first worshippers to fall at His feet on that Resurrection Day!


Jesus loved and valued women. Women served Jesus. Jesus was born of a woman. The Bible says that He had sisters. I challenge everyone, men and women, to be like the women who followed Jesus. I pray that you may be among the last ones standing by your Savior’s side, and that you will be among the first ones to worship the Glorious Risen Savior each day!


Today's devotional was written by Dawn Kooistra, Director of Women's Ministries and Missions Outreach.

Day 3 - Worship

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship." Romans 12:1


Today, take a look at Romans 12:1. Why do we lift our hands in musical worship? Why do we tithe? Why do we serve in church? True worship is, “to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice”. Now I’m not saying that we should lay ourselves at the altar and spill our blood there. What I mean is that when we decide to live our lives in worship of the Lord we are allowing The Lord to inspect our hearts. When we allow this to happen, we are allowing God to reveal to us anything that is in our hearts that is unlike Him. Worship is scary! It is giving the Lord consent to reveal the truth of our hearts. There’s no charade in true worship; there’s no hypocrisy; there’s no hiding. True worship is a sacrifice. It is painful, it is a long journey, it is uncomfortable, and it is the greatest part of serving the Lord. As we let this happen, we become more and more like the Father. What beautiful creatures we become as we are transformed by the living God.


This is why we react the way we do in our Christian faith. This is why we tithe, why we volunteer at church, why we fast, why we work in the spiritual gifts, etc. As we do these things, God is searching our hearts. If you are a follower of Christ, make it a point in your life, in your household, during the Easter season, and after to make worship an absolute priority and be absolutely UNDIGNIFIED in this priority. Worship passionately, give generously, serve your church well, fast often, and seek the spiritual gifts everyday. God will respond to your efforts with transforming your heart to look more like His.


Today’s devotional was written by our Worship Pastor, Karina Garcia. We hope you’ll join us for worship at Hope Church this Easter, at 9 & 11am.

day 2 - clearing the temple

Today, we are reading from Matthew 21:10-17 As we read this story, we see a side of Jesus that we have yet to experience. The teacher, healer, and redeemer is so distraught that he becomes, what onlookers would see as, destructive. Something that was designed to worship the Father was being used for selfish gain and Jesus was furious at the sight of it – it had to stop!


It’s easy to understand Jesus’ frustration. We also become frustrated when something isn’t being used for its original purpose; when t-shirts get used as napkins or a person gets taken advantage of. There’s a righteous frustration that boils beneath our skin and tells us that something isn’t right. We hear parents scold their children as they dirty their clothing or friends defend one another when they’re being mistreated – something must be done.


1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price.”


We are temples. But I wonder how Jesus would react if He were to do an inventory of the tables in our lives today. Would Jesus find tables worthy of being flipped? Are we making sure that we’re living out the purpose for which we were created? Are we living life for our selfish gain or to glorify the Father?


During this Easter week, take time to examine your heart and your life. Do you need to do some temple cleansing?

Start - palm sunday

Take a moment to read in Mark 11 today. Something I notice when I read the story of Jesus' Triumphal Entry in Mark 11:1-10 is that the crowd went before and after Jesus singing his praises.


Of course when the authors of the Gospel talks about the crowds going “before and after” Jesus they’re talking about the physical position of the crowd in relation to Jesus. Since we can only imagine the events of this day centuries ago, think about praising before and after Jesus in terms of time. Easter is only a few days away and we are currently in the time before Jesus’ most amazing feat. But soon the big services, egg hunts and brunches will be over, and we will be in the time after Jesus’ most glorious miracle.


With that in mind, how are you praising before Jesus? It’s possible that right now leading up to Easter you’re barely holding on let alone waving a palm branch. How are you going to praise after Jesus? Maybe all you can see yourself doing the weeks following Easter is crying and definitely not the word “Hosanna!”

If Palm Sunday teaches us one thing, it’s hope. Prophecy told of a time when a perfect king would come and restore Israel to its former glory. When this crowd on the first Palm Sunday heralded Jesus’ arrival with praise and exultation it wasn’t because they were hoping to see a neat magic trick. They recognized the king who had been a long time in coming. In his gospel, John recalls the prophecy, “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!”


I say the same to you today. Fear not! Your king is coming! Just as he promised, he is with you! He is miraculous and powerful and he is ready to display that to you if go before and after him with praise! So fearlessly praise him today because you too can be restored to your former glory with Christ this Easter!