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First Thoughts Blog

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Never Would I Ever!

Did you ever play that game in your misspent youth? Someone names an outlandish behavior beginning with the phrase, “Never would I ever . . . ” But, if a participant has ever done that crazy thing (like swallowing a live goldfish), it must be admitted.
What if we played that game with the Passion story?
Never would I ever . . . get near a crucifixion. Yet, even as Simon of Cyrene raises his hand and describes carrying the cross for Jesus, I hope that I, too, would have had courage to help Jesus along his painful way.
Never would I ever . . . say I didn’t know Jesus. Yet, watching Peter ashamedly admit his denial, I recall all the times just this week that I did not take a stand for Christ.
Never would I ever . . . betray Jesus with a kiss. Yet even as Judas stands up to confess, I know that every time I “kiss” the cup as I drink during communion, my lips have also betrayed Jesus many times that week.
Never would I ever . . . give away a family heirloom on a lost cause. Yet, I see Mary anoint Jesus with a perfume worth tens of thousands of dollars. I see Joseph offer the executed Jesus his own burial plot. And I long to show extravagant love to Jesus.
We may well approach the stories of Passion Week thinking “Never would I ever . . . ” Surely those people then are nothing like me now. But just a bit of reflection and we realize, “I was there!” 
Studying the people Jesus encountered during Passion Week can rock your world, change your life and set your heart aflame with love for the Savior who undertook death and hell for your sake. 
So don’t miss a day! Get your beautiful Lenten book Were You There: Meeting the People of Passion Week, sign up for the daily emails, join a weekly home group and make it a priority to be at church every Sunday from now through Easter. You won’t be the same!
Youth Department News
We’re blessed to have a great youth staff team. Working to maximize the gifts of our staff, we’re reorganizing the ministry. 
Youth Ministry Administrator: Jessica Saffell 
Director of Youth: Middle School and Girls, Paula Walker
Assistant Director of Youth: High School and Boys, Noah Pourciau
The difference is that Jessica will become the “organizer” of our ministry, deploying our on-the-ground directors, Paula and Noah, in reaching middle school and high school students. Students will notice no change in how their programming works. Parents will notice that questions about trips, logistics, dates and details will go to Jessica first, rather than Paula, thus freeing Paula to spend more time with our students.