Not like that

nothow

Today’s Reading 1 Peter 1-5, 2 Peter 1-3

There is a cute insurance commercial of three senior citizens sitting in someone’s house. The one woman has put pictures all over her living room wall instead of mailing the pictures so everyone can see them. Her belief is that her wall in her house works like Facebook. One of the other woman then uses the tagline, “that’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works.”

I believe that we often get confused just like the woman in the commercial with how come things work. For instance, I don’t understand how electricity works or how a combustion engine operates. I feel like we often have the same trouble when we think of waiting in the biblical sense.

In today’s reading, Peter talks about waiting on a couple of occasions. In particular in 2 Peter 3

11 Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening[d]the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire?

Waiting. There it is but what does it mean? Do I just sit around knowing that the Lord is coming? Do I sit around in my house and look at all those who don’t get it and don’t live the right way?

I think we often see the waiting but miss the hastening part of this verse. We need to be prepared for the coming of the Lord and live lives that are holy ones. How we live is vital to the waiting and hastening. We need to live lives that bring glory to God. We need to show the world that Jesus Christ makes a huge difference to us. We aren’t the same anymore. The Holy Spirit has changed us forever. Each day we need to go into the world and be an example of what love really looks like. There is no hiding away when you are a follower of the One. No way. Not ever. It is not who we are.

So wait for the Lord as you go into the world bringing peace and love and mercy with you. Be the light of Jesus in someone’s life…this is how we wait.

***Note ***

We are in Day 36 of a 40 day read through the New Testament challenge today. The 40 days of readings are listed below.

***End Note ***

40 Days of Reading
Day 1 – Ash Wednesday
Mark 1-4

Thursday Day 2 – Mark 5-8

Friday Day 3 Mark 9-12

Saturday Day 4 Mark 13-16

Sunday

 Monday Day 5 1 & 2 Thessalonians

Tuesday Day 6 Galatians

Wednesday  Day 7  Philippians & Colossians

Thursday Day 8 Philemon & Ephesians

Friday Day 9 Matthew 1-7

Saturday Day 10 Matthew 8-12

Sunday

Monday Day 11 Matthew 13-18

Tuesday Day 12 Matthew 19-24

Day 13 Wednesday Matthew 25-28

Thursday Day 14 1 Corinthians 1-9

Friday Day 15 1 Corinthians 10-16

Saturday Day 16 2 Corinthians 1-13

Sunday

Monday Day 17 Romans 1-8

Tuesday Day 18 Romans 9-16

Wednesday Day 19 Luke 1-3

Thursday Day 20 Luke 4-7

Friday Day 21 Luke 8-11

Saturday Day 22 Luke 12-16

Sunday

Monday Day 23 Luke 17-21

Tuesday Day 24 Luke 22-24

Wednesday Day 25 Acts 1-6

Thursday Day 26 Acts 7-10

Friday Day 27 Acts 11-16

Saturday Day 28 Acts 17-22

Sunday

Monday Day 29 Monday Day 29 Acts 23-28

Tuesday Day 30 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus

Wednesday Day 31 Hebrews 1-10

Thursday Day 32 Hebrews 11-13 & James

Friday Day 33 Revelation 1-11

Day 34 Revelation 12-22

Sunday

Monday Day 35  1 & 2 & 3 John & Jude

Today Tuesday Day 36 1 & 2 Peter

Wednesday Day 37 John 1-5

Thursday Day 38 John 6-10

Friday Day 39 John 11-16

Saturday Day 40 John 17-21

It’s here

holyweek.jpeg

Today’s Reading 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude

We have made it to Holy Week. We started a 40 day reading journey on Ash Wednesday. The goal was to read through the New Testament. It seemed very ambitious and it was. Yet, we have now gotten to Holy Week and we are wrapping up the last few days of reading and it feels good.

Holy Week has seemed to fly by sine I have been a pastor. It is a series of worship services that are all meaningful and powerful and I often get to “Easter Monday” and wonder where the time went. I want this year to be different. I want to really take each day and take time to be present with God and remember what it all means.

It seems as if there is no better way to prepare for just that on the Monday of Easter week than the readings for today, especially 1 particular verse.

1 John 3:16:

 We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 

This is in fact what Holy Week is all about. The love of Jesus for us. It is that love that enabled him to lay down his life for people who mocked, scorned, and reviled him. It is this love that sets the stage for this week. Love like that changes and changed the world.

I have often focused on the first part of that verse and that is especially so during Holy Week but today the second part really struck me; and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 

This is a bold statement and a heavy one to wrestle with. Lay down my life for you? Sometimes, I don’t even want to be in the same room with you and yet there it is. Holy Week is our time to remember that Jesus did what we could never do on our own; make us right with God. For me, this means that love in which Jesus shows and demonstrates for us I need to show to others every day. I did to be intentional and consistent. I don’t get to pick and choose when and to whom I show that love.

My prayer today is that I can find a way each day to show that radical love to someone. The love that changed everything.

***Note ***

We are in Day 35 of a 40 day read through the New Testament challenge today. The 40 days of readings are listed below.

***End Note ***

40 Days of Reading
Day 1 – Ash Wednesday
Mark 1-4

Thursday Day 2 – Mark 5-8

Friday Day 3 Mark 9-12

Saturday Day 4 Mark 13-16

Sunday

 Monday Day 5 1 & 2 Thessalonians

Tuesday Day 6 Galatians

Wednesday  Day 7  Philippians & Colossians

Thursday Day 8 Philemon & Ephesians

Friday Day 9 Matthew 1-7

Saturday Day 10 Matthew 8-12

Sunday

Monday Day 11 Matthew 13-18

Tuesday Day 12 Matthew 19-24

Day 13 Wednesday Matthew 25-28

Thursday Day 14 1 Corinthians 1-9

Friday Day 15 1 Corinthians 10-16

Saturday Day 16 2 Corinthians 1-13

Sunday

Monday Day 17 Romans 1-8

Tuesday Day 18 Romans 9-16

Wednesday Day 19 Luke 1-3

Thursday Day 20 Luke 4-7

Friday Day 21 Luke 8-11

Saturday Day 22 Luke 12-16

Sunday

Monday Day 23 Luke 17-21

Tuesday Day 24 Luke 22-24

Wednesday Day 25 Acts 1-6

Thursday Day 26 Acts 7-10

Friday Day 27 Acts 11-16

Saturday Day 28 Acts 17-22

Sunday

Monday Day 29 Monday Day 29 Acts 23-28

Tuesday Day 30 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus

Wednesday Day 31 Hebrews 1-10

Thursday Day 32 Hebrews 11-13 & James

Friday Day 33 Revelation 1-11

Day 34 Revelation 12-22

Sunday

Today Monday Day 35  1 & 2 & 3 John & Jude

Tuesday Day 36 1 & 2 Peter

Wednesday Day 37 John 1-5

Thursday Day 38 John 6-10

Friday Day 39 John 11-16

Saturday Day 40 John 17-21

Drink up

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Today’s Reading Revelation 12-22

I have been told for many years by doctors and my wife that I need to drink more water. I have an ongoing issues with kidney stones and one of the solutions is to up my intake of water. Kidney stones are the most painful thing that I have ever dealt with in my life. I have been dealing with them for over 25 years on and off. Yet, the water suggestion never kicked in completely.

I would do it for a while but then revert to my usual of coffee, iced tea, and soda. After all, the logic goes, these things are made with water as well so it has to count. It really doesn’t and I know that. At the beginning of this year I had my most recent bout of kidney stones and something stuck this time. I start my day with water (coffee too, I am not a heathen) and end my day with water. I am not sure that is helping but I am doing it because I believe it will and I know that it is healthier.

I was finishing up the reading today as I was drinking my water and there I found these words:

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”
And let everyone who hears say, “Come.”
And let everyone who is thirsty come.
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.

These words are the last command of God to his people in the bible. People for so long that have known what the right thing to do was and did the opposite. We can be like that, I know I am like that. God’s offer to drink when we are thirsty is an invitation to us all forever. We are thirsty but how will we quench our thirst. Will we drink from the living water that God provides for us or will we simply turn to the world for momentary cessation of our thirst?

God will provide all that we need and all we need do is say yes. Come and drink!

***Note ***

We are in Day 34 of a 40 day read through the New Testament challenge today. The 40 days of readings are listed below.

***End Note ***

40 Days of Reading
Day 1 – Ash Wednesday
Mark 1-4

Thursday Day 2 – Mark 5-8

Friday Day 3 Mark 9-12

Saturday Day 4 Mark 13-16

Sunday

 Monday Day 5 1 & 2 Thessalonians

Tuesday Day 6 Galatians

Wednesday  Day 7  Philippians & Colossians

Thursday Day 8 Philemon & Ephesians

Friday Day 9 Matthew 1-7

Saturday Day 10 Matthew 8-12

Sunday

Monday Day 11 Matthew 13-18

Tuesday Day 12 Matthew 19-24

Day 13 Wednesday Matthew 25-28

Thursday Day 14 1 Corinthians 1-9

Friday Day 15 1 Corinthians 10-16

Saturday Day 16 2 Corinthians 1-13

Sunday

Monday Day 17 Romans 1-8

Tuesday Day 18 Romans 9-16

Wednesday Day 19 Luke 1-3

Thursday Day 20 Luke 4-7

Friday Day 21 Luke 8-11

Saturday Day 22 Luke 12-16

Sunday

Monday Day 23 Luke 17-21

Tuesday Day 24 Luke 22-24

Wednesday Day 25 Acts 1-6

Thursday Day 26 Acts 7-10

Friday Day 27 Acts 11-16

Saturday Day 28 Acts 17-22

Sunday

Monday Day 29 Monday Day 29 Acts 23-28

Tuesday Day 30 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus

Wednesday Day 31 Hebrews 1-10

Thursday Day 32 Hebrews 11-13 & James

Friday Day 33 Revelation 1-11

Today Saturday Day 34 Revelation 12-22

Sunday

Monday Day 35  1 & 2 & 3 John & Jude

Tuesday Day 36 1 & 2 Peter

Wednesday Day 37 John 1-5

Thursday Day 38 John 6-10

Friday Day 39 John 11-16

Saturday Day 40 John 17-21

Sunday EASTER

When will it happen

wakeup1.jpg

Today’s Reading Revelation 1-11

There are those moments in our life that tend to totally upend the status quo. These are events or situation that we experience that bring such  a level of energy or angst that we end up responding to them. These become defining moments in our life. It is these moments that we look back to and say, “That was it!”

After reading through today’s reading though, I can’t help but wonder how many of the moments that we miss along the way. Reflecting about events and situations in the past, i can’t help but speculate upon when it was probably time to wake up ad I missed it completely. Am I alone?

Heading to bed last night, we read about an air attack upon Syria. Every day, we are reminded about the problem in North Korea and our own country’s political divide. It is a mess. We read about struggles in the church and experience struggles at home. We are a people divided and in need of a shake up.

Reading the end of chapter 9 this morning, I came across this:

The rest of humankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands or give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk. 21 And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their fornication or their thefts.

At first, my reaction was wondering why didn’t the people wake up and change. However, I have seen with my own eyes how people respond to the news of the day. I have responded in the same way. We ignore it and keep doing whatever it is we are invested in. We continue to worship these idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood and wonder why things aren’t getting any better.

Wake up!

It is time to wake up!

Change starts here and it starts now.

 Focus on God. Pray for guidance. Love your neighbor. Love god with everything you got.
It is time to go back to the beginning. It is time. Wake up!

 

***Note ***

We are in Day 33 of a 40 day read through the New Testament challenge today. The 40 days of readings are listed below.

***End Note ***

40 Days of Reading
Day 1 – Ash Wednesday
Mark 1-4

Thursday Day 2 – Mark 5-8

Friday Day 3 Mark 9-12

Saturday Day 4 Mark 13-16

Sunday

 Monday Day 5 1 & 2 Thessalonians

Tuesday Day 6 Galatians

Wednesday  Day 7  Philippians & Colossians

Thursday Day 8 Philemon & Ephesians

Friday Day 9 Matthew 1-7

Saturday Day 10 Matthew 8-12

Sunday

Monday Day 11 Matthew 13-18

Tuesday Day 12 Matthew 19-24

Day 13 Wednesday Matthew 25-28

Thursday Day 14 1 Corinthians 1-9

Friday Day 15 1 Corinthians 10-16

Saturday Day 16 2 Corinthians 1-13

Sunday

Monday Day 17 Romans 1-8

Tuesday Day 18 Romans 9-16

Wednesday Day 19 Luke 1-3

Thursday Day 20 Luke 4-7

Friday Day 21 Luke 8-11

Saturday Day 22 Luke 12-16

Sunday

Monday Day 23 Luke 17-21

Tuesday Day 24 Luke 22-24

Wednesday Day 25 Acts 1-6

Thursday Day 26 Acts 7-10

Friday Day 27 Acts 11-16

Saturday Day 28 Acts 17-22

Sunday

Monday Day 29 Monday Day 29 Acts 23-28

Tuesday Day 30 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus

Wednesday Day 31 Hebrews 1-10

Thursday Day 32 Hebrews 11-13 & James

Today Friday Day 33 Revelation 1-11

Saturday Day 34 Revelation 12-22

Sunday

Monday Day 35  1 & 2 & 3 John & Jude

Tuesday Day 36 1 & 2 Peter

Wednesday Day 37 John 1-5

Thursday Day 38 John 6-10

Friday Day 39 John 11-16

Saturday Day 40 John 17-21

Sunday EASTER

A Spark is all

spark

Today’s Reading Hebrews 11-13, Book of James

I remember one morning, I was in West Deptford visiting my grandparents. I was hanging out with some kids that I knew and we had wandered over to the baseball fields to play a little baseball.  Before we had gotten started, another group of kids wandered just outside the field. There was some conversation and some insults being thrown back and forth between the two groups.

I saw one of the kids pick something up and throw it towards a group of us that were surrounding home plate. He was beyond the fence in center field when he threw it. Somehow or another I was the “lucky one” that got hit by it. It struck me on the top of my head and I went down. I am not sure if I was unconscious for a moment or not. I got helped up and as I looked back down, I saw a giant nut and bolt. This fairly large piece of metal had brought a lot of pain. But I have been hurt worse.

Metal, wood, and stones we know that they can cause pain. Yet, as I was reading the scripture selection for this morning, I was reminded of something that causes even more pain that we often dismiss. In James 3, we are warned about the destructive power of the tongue. It is such a little thing but it can cause such great pain.

We try to dismiss the significance of it with cute little nurse rhymes that say things like “but names can never  hurt me”, but we know it is not true. words hurt and can cause real damage. Today’s reading is an important reminder that we need to be prayerful and mindful when we are talking to other people.

I have been hurt by the words of other people but I am more concerned with the reality that I know t have done the same to others. We sing a song in church occasionally with the lyrics, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going”.  This song is about God’s love but it is just as true with gossip. It just as true with nastiness.

So today, let us choose to ignite sparks of God’s love and not sparks of discord and pain.

***Note ***

We are in Day 32 of a 40 day read through the New Testament challenge today. The 40 days of readings are listed below.

***End Note ***

40 Days of Reading
Day 1 – Ash Wednesday
Mark 1-4

Thursday Day 2 – Mark 5-8

Friday Day 3 Mark 9-12

Saturday Day 4 Mark 13-16

Sunday

 Monday Day 5 1 & 2 Thessalonians

Tuesday Day 6 Galatians

Wednesday  Day 7  Philippians & Colossians

Thursday Day 8 Philemon & Ephesians

Friday Day 9 Matthew 1-7

Saturday Day 10 Matthew 8-12

Sunday

Monday Day 11 Matthew 13-18

Tuesday Day 12 Matthew 19-24

Day 13 Wednesday Matthew 25-28

Thursday Day 14 1 Corinthians 1-9

Friday Day 15 1 Corinthians 10-16

Saturday Day 16 2 Corinthians 1-13

Sunday

Monday Day 17 Romans 1-8

Tuesday Day 18 Romans 9-16

Wednesday Day 19 Luke 1-3

Thursday Day 20 Luke 4-7

Friday Day 21 Luke 8-11

Saturday Day 22 Luke 12-16

Sunday

Monday Day 23 Luke 17-21

Tuesday Day 24 Luke 22-24

Wednesday Day 25 Acts 1-6

Thursday Day 26 Acts 7-10

Friday Day 27 Acts 11-16

Saturday Day 28 Acts 17-22

Sunday

Monday Day 29 Monday Day 29 Acts 23-28

Tuesday Day 30 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus

Wednesday Day 31 Hebrews 1-10

Today Thursday Day 32 Hebrews 11-13 & James

Friday Day 33 Revelation 1-11

Saturday Day 34 Revelation 12-22

Sunday

Monday Day 35  1 & 2 & 3 John & Jude

Tuesday Day 36 1 & 2 Peter

Wednesday Day 37 John 1-5

Thursday Day 38 John 6-10

Friday Day 39 John 11-16

Saturday Day 40 John 17-21

Sunday EASTER

Pick a Team

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Today’s Reading Hebrews 1-10

When I was younger, I went through an identity crisis. I had a friend across the street who was a Dallas Cowboys fan. I was raised better than that and had many people in my life who always showed me right from wrong in sports fandom. Yet, one season, I slipped over to the dark side and tried to be a Cowboys fan. It was a sad point in my life and I try not to think about those days too much.

It wasn’t long until I was a Eagles fan once again like I have been for virtually all of my five decades on this earth. I chose a team that season and I didn’t like how it felt. It wasn’t who I really was and I quickly returned “home”.

I was thinking of my lost season as I was reading through the first 10 chapters of the book of Hebrews this morning. In particular as I closed out chapter 10:

35 Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward. 36 For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. 37 For yet “in a very little while, the one who is coming will come and will not delay; 38 but my righteous one will live by faith.  My soul takes no pleasure in anyone who shrinks back.”c 3But we are not among those who shrink back and so are lost, but among those who have faith and so are saved.

These words are words of encouragement. It reminds us of what team we are on. We aren’t the type of people who fall away when things get tough. We are the type of people who trust in God. We have seen evidence of God’s love in our lives and we hold on to that.

Pick the right team! Choose Jesus and then be more than a casual fan. Go all in!

***Note ***

We are in Day 31 of a 40 day read through the New Testament challenge today. The 40 days of readings are listed below.

***End Note ***

40 Days of Reading
Day 1 – Ash Wednesday
Mark 1-4

Thursday Day 2 – Mark 5-8

Friday Day 3 Mark 9-12

Saturday Day 4 Mark 13-16

Sunday

 Monday Day 5 1 & 2 Thessalonians

Tuesday Day 6 Galatians

Wednesday  Day 7  Philippians & Colossians

Thursday Day 8 Philemon & Ephesians

Friday Day 9 Matthew 1-7

Saturday Day 10 Matthew 8-12

Sunday

Monday Day 11 Matthew 13-18

Tuesday Day 12 Matthew 19-24

Day 13 Wednesday Matthew 25-28

Thursday Day 14 1 Corinthians 1-9

Friday Day 15 1 Corinthians 10-16

Saturday Day 16 2 Corinthians 1-13

Sunday

Monday Day 17 Romans 1-8

Tuesday Day 18 Romans 9-16

Wednesday Day 19 Luke 1-3

Thursday Day 20 Luke 4-7

Friday Day 21 Luke 8-11

Saturday Day 22 Luke 12-16

Sunday

Monday Day 23 Luke 17-21

Tuesday Day 24 Luke 22-24

Wednesday Day 25 Acts 1-6

Thursday Day 26 Acts 7-10

Friday Day 27 Acts 11-16

Saturday Day 28 Acts 17-22

Sunday

Monday Day 29 Monday Day 29 Acts 23-28

Tuesday Day 30 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus

Today Wednesday Day 31 Hebrews 1-10

Thursday Day 32 Hebrews 11-13 & James

Friday Day 33 Revelation 1-11

Saturday Day 34 Revelation 12-22

Sunday

Monday Day 35  1 & 2 & 3 John & Jude

Tuesday Day 36 1 & 2 Peter

Wednesday Day 37 John 1-5

Thursday Day 38 John 6-10

Friday Day 39 John 11-16

Saturday Day 40 John 17-21

Sunday EASTER

Seeing Differently

break-the-blocks-1

Today Reading 1 Timothy,  2 Timothy, Titus

Think back to the old neighborhood where you grew up. Take a moment and think of all the characters that lived in the area. You remember them all don’t you? The kids you used to hang out with and the older ones that perhaps used to bully you and your friends. you remember the next door neighbor that wouldn’t let you into her yard to get the kick ball that your buddy kicked over the fence. Every moment and every person you remember them.

Now think of yourself in that same time frame. Remember the type of kid that you were when you were growing up in that neighborhood. Do you remember causing havoc with your friends? Do you remember all the trouble that you got in while you were pushing the boundaries?  do you remember all the fun you used to have playing games with your friends or goofing off together at school?

Are you that same person now? Are those people in the neighborhood the same? Yet, when you think of them or yourself together those memories still rush back. At least they do for me, yet I know that I am not that person anymore. I know my buddies from the neighborhood are not the same people anymore either. Yet that is still how I see them. I see them as the carefree kids that most of us were. Enjoying life no matter what else was going on.

I was thinking of the old times as I was finishing up the letter to Titus this morning,. In the final chapter, Paul sends a word of reminder. Paul wants the people to remember how they used to be as well in the old neighborhood. However, he doesn’t want to look back so fondly. He wants people to remember the bad things about themselves. The ways in which they were off course. He doesn’t want them to be reminded of those things though to make them feel bad.

Paul wants the people to be reminded of the fact that despite the mess they were in that God had still done a great work in them. It wasn’t because they were os special or the behavior was perfect. It was in spite of all the things going wrong. God loved them and the Spirit changed them.

It is a reminder to me as I read this of how far I have come because of the grace of God. I am still a work in progress but I am God’s handiwork and so this morning I choose to see that when I look in the mirror. What do you see?

 

We are in Day 30 of a 40 day read through the New Testament challenge today. The 40 days of readings are listed below.

***End Note ***

40 Days of Reading
Day 1 – Ash Wednesday
Mark 1-4

Thursday Day 2 – Mark 5-8

Friday Day 3 Mark 9-12

Saturday Day 4 Mark 13-16

Sunday

 Monday Day 5 1 & 2 Thessalonians

Tuesday Day 6 Galatians

Wednesday  Day 7  Philippians & Colossians

Thursday Day 8 Philemon & Ephesians

Friday Day 9 Matthew 1-7

Saturday Day 10 Matthew 8-12

Sunday

Monday Day 11 Matthew 13-18

Tuesday Day 12 Matthew 19-24

Day 13 Wednesday Matthew 25-28

Thursday Day 14 1 Corinthians 1-9

Friday Day 15 1 Corinthians 10-16

Saturday Day 16 2 Corinthians 1-13

Sunday

Monday Day 17 Romans 1-8

Tuesday Day 18 Romans 9-16

Wednesday Day 19 Luke 1-3

Thursday Day 20 Luke 4-7

Friday Day 21 Luke 8-11

Saturday Day 22 Luke 12-16

Sunday

Monday Day 23 Luke 17-21

Tuesday Day 24 Luke 22-24

Wednesday Day 25 Acts 1-6

Thursday Day 26 Acts 7-10

Friday Day 27 Acts 11-16

Saturday Day 28 Acts 17-22

Sunday

Monday Day 29 Monday Day 29 Acts 23-28

Today Tuesday Day 30 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus

Wednesday Day 31 Hebrews 1-10

Thursday Day 32 Hebrews 11-13 & James

Friday Day 33 Revelation 1-11

Saturday Day 34 Revelation 12-22

Sunday

Monday Day 35  1 & 2 & 3 John & Jude

Tuesday Day 36 1 & 2 Peter

Wednesday Day 37 John 1-5

Thursday Day 38 John 6-10

Friday Day 39 John 11-16

Saturday Day 40 John 17-21

Sunday EASTER