Meditations for Holy Week

Sure & Steadfast

As Holy Week, or the 8 days starting with Palm Sunday and ending with Easter Sunday, comes year by year, we must be careful to honor the Lord by reflecting on the events that took place which led to the crucifixion and then culminated in the resurrection. It is easy for us to go on with work or vacation and think little about Easter past decorating or finding colorful eggs. May we not distort Easter to be such, rather a time we glorify God as we recall the praise, teachings, betrayal, sufferings, death, and life of our Lord Jesus, the Christ. Below are a few resources that will help you in this effort.


The Events

Crossway published an immensely helpful book called The Final Days of Jesus. Crossway paired the book’s release with this blog. The blog contains 8 (one for each day) 3-5 minute videos providing historical, cultural, and theological background of the story, so that the details from Christ’s Triumphal Entry to Resurrection can be vividly remembered.

The Gospel Coalition (TGC) posted an article based on the aforementioned book. Russ Ramsey, in the article, summarizes each of the chapters into two paragraphs with the Scripture references. The article is designed to serve as a devotional guide for Holy Week, reading particular passages with some insightful commentary.


In Preparation for Maundy Thursday

At Together for the Gospel (T4G) 2008, RC Sproul drew upon the imagery of the Old Testament to teach the implications of what Jesus suffered on the cross and what He saved us from. Listen to this hour-long sermon from Galatians 3:10-14 to grasp the weight of the curse, which Jesus became, so that we would not stand accursed before the Father, rather righteous in Him.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a favorite preacher of many, was certainly a man of great wisdom and biblical understanding. TGC collected multiple quotes from Spurgeon on the Lord’s Supper and compiled them here. We must know that studying the things of God requires deep, concentrated thinking, and the article is the fruit of that and requires the reader to studiously ponder what is said.



The founding pastor of Parkwood, Dr. M.O. Owens Jr., preached our Sunrise Service on March 23, 2008. He was 94, currently 103, when he exposited Romans 4:13, 18-5:2. His sermon explores God’s character and nature, as it relates primarily to Christ’s Lordship solidified at the resurrection. Read his sermon to know God better and to better know the importance and implications of our salvation upon Christ’s resurrection.

While Easter is a big deal to us at Parkwood, we celebrate the news of Jesus’ death and resurrection weekly. Consider Easter the pinnacle of this celebratory news and every other week we trek through the implications of the Holy Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, dwelling in us, who were once dead.


Why We Do 180 Weekend


For many years, right around Super Bowl weekend, Parkwood has lead in a student gathering for churches across greater Gaston County to bring their youth groups, large and small, to hear the Gospel presented, to worship the Lord, and to make lasting friendships with their peers and discipling relationships with their small group leaders.

This year, over 30 different local churches will come to the main sessions at two locations; Parkwood and Bethlehem. Parkwood will have over 100 volunteers to serve the 200 students affiliated with Parkwood and the thousand affiliated with other churches. We see this as a great way to galvanize with other youth and student workers out of obedience to God. Jesus prayed, “Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:11). Paul wrote, “complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” (Philippians 2:2). Coming together for the gospel is a must, as that furthers His glory among the world.

Titus 2:1 says, “Teach what accords with sound doctrine.” Paul tells the Ephesians in Acts 20:27, “I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” The truth of God’s Word will be proclaimed in 3 different settings throughout the weekend: large group at Parkwood, small groups in homes (Acts 20:20), and throughout the day (Deuteronomy 6:7). Parkwood hosts 3 large group gatherings that are structured like our Sunday morning services. From what is faithfully taught there, the small groups then return to their host homes to discuss the Bible deeper with their leaders. The third way the Bible is taught is through one-on-one conversations. Small group leaders are trained to leverage regular conversations into gospel conversations. [Read more…]

5 Issues the Sanctity of Life Affects

Sanctity of Life

January 22, 2017 is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Every year we specifically remind one another life is God-given and God-made. As we remind one another of this, we are sobered in that many disagree with this. We can easily sobered knowing such a biblically-based belief is so counter cultural. Below are 5 articles or messages that will help your understanding of the importance and effects Sanctity of Life has on life as a Christian, American, and citizen of the world.

Understand the Sanctity of Life and ethics. Carrie Earll and Focus on the Family explain the value of life is unquantifiable, and the baseline reason is found in that humans are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Human dignity and distinction are derived from this, and this is what drives our conviction.

Understand the Sanctity of Life in the face of abortion. John Piper, in this resource of 3 transcribed sermons, articulates abortion factually, exhorts us to consider Lordship, and the call to follow Jesus despite all else in the world. The last sentence is a gracious summation we need regular reminder of: “Jesus Christ can forgive all sins, and will give all who trusts him the help they need to do everything that life requires.”

Understand the Sanctity of Life and the American tax dollar. Joe Carter of the ERLC provides a credible exposé on the federally-funded Planned Parenthood, the nation’s most used women’s health organization and the largest provider of abortions in America.

Understand the Sanctity of Life Sunday and why we ought to pray it become unnecessary. Russell Moore, through anecdotes and cultural insight, reminds us that this Sunday is not meant to remain with the church for the rest of our history, unlike Christmas or Easter. A good prayer to pray is that this Sunday emphasis would be removed by the Lord orchestrating orphans to be adopted and abortions to be removed from the face of the earth.

Understand the Sanctity of Life as it relates to the world. David Platt helps us see that the issue does not exist in America, alone. The issue of devaluing human life is worldwide, and the answer is “make disciples of all nations, by baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded” (Matthew 28:19-20).

While the fight and disagreement about this issue transpires outside of the church and in the public square, we must have our minds set that when we gather, we gather not to argue about this issue, but to celebrate God and honor Him by strengthening one another and believing His Word.

Guest Blog From an Aspiring Missionary

At the age of 15, the Lord burdened my heart for the nations in a way that was different from brothers and sisters around me. I knew the trajectory of my life had come into focus on my first international missions experience. Due to the support and mission at Parkwood, I’ve been able to spend anywhere from a week to 10 weeks in different countries making disciples and leading others to do the same. The time is drawing near when my family will become “official” missionaries working among unreached peoples in Central Asia.

William Carey is best known as a British missionary who served until his death in 1834 in India. Some regard Carey as the “Father of Modern Missions.” Currently, the International MiWilliam Careyssion Board is discussing professionals using their jobs to take the Gospel to the unreached. Carey wrote about that in 1792. Currently, common practice is to send missionaries to join missionary teams rather than to work independently. Carey advocated that to be a better practice in his day. Currently, unreached people groups are the focus of missionary sending. Carey produced one of the first charts statistically accounting for how many Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and Pagans (we would now delineate as Hindus, Buddhists, Animists, and Atheists) exist in every part of the world. He wrote an essay, An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens, that is still pertinent to our considerations of to what the Gospel’s calls our lives. Friends, family, and strangers have all made sure I was aware I could make disciples in my city because not everyone is a Christians here. The same have also given reasons as to why most individuals shouldn’t go, but, brothers and sisters, please contemplate William Carey’s rebuttals that he wrote before 1800.

“They are too far away.”

“Whatever objections might have been made on that account before the invention of the mariner’s compass, nothing can be alleged for it, with any colour of plausibility in the present age…Yea, and providence seems in a manner to invite us to the trial, as there are to our knowledge trading companies, whose commerce lies in many of the places where, these barbarians dwell.”

The compass was thought of as technology sufficient to get to all peoples. May I ask, what is our excuse when we can communicate instantly with 40% of the world?

“The way of life is too barbaric.” [Read more…]