Thriving as We Work

Saturday evening I was blessed with the opportunity to attend the Precious Life Gala, a fundraiser for Precious Life Shelter in Los Alamitos. It’s a wonderful organization that helps mothers who are in difficult situations have their babies and get back on their feet by giving them job skills and life skills. They had one mother share her story. It went from heartbreaking to heart-filling. It wasn’t saccharine sentimentality; this young woman worked hard to get back on her feet by the grace of God and with the help of the many wonderful volunteers at Precious Life Shelter.

It was a wonderful lead-in to Pastor Brett’s message last Sunday. We’re saved by grace, but God has blessed us with talents that we are to use for His glory. There is work to be done as God’s servants. And, as we remember what Jesus has done for us and enjoy the life He has given us in the Holy Spirit, this work isn’t a burden, but a joy. It’s an expression of who God has created us to be. When we’re working in God’s power doing what He’s created us to be, we understand what it means to “thrive.”

As we turn our attention from “The Dust of the Rabbi” series, we are now looking at “The Passion of the Rabbi.” Easter Week begins Sunday – it’s often called Passion Week (passion referring to suffering). This is the week of Jesus’ most significant work on earth. We will hit the highs and lows of Jesus’ last week beginning this Sunday. Our hearts will be broken and they will soar as we travel from the Triumphal Entry to Maundy Thursday to the darkness of Good Friday and, finally, to the greatest triumph of Easter morning. I hope you can make each of the services, but I also pray you’ll take time to personally walk this week with Jesus.

Keep working through that Lent devotional. But I also received a helpful resource from one of my seminary professors from years ago. It shows what Jesus was doing each day of Passion Week. Use it as a guide to spend a little time looking into Jesus’ world over 2000 years ago where He changed everything by ultimately conquering death so that we could thrive in a new life with Him.


Calendar Days



·    Arrival in Bethany (John 12:1)
Saturday ·    Evening celebration, Mary anoints Jesus

(Matthew 26:6-13; John 12:2-8)

Sunday ·  Triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Matt. 21:1-9;

John 12:12-18

·  Jesus surveys the temple area (Mark 11:11)

·  Return to Bethany (Mark 11:11)

Monday ·  Cursing the fig tree on the way to Jerusalem (Mark 11:12-14; cf. Matt. 21:18-22)

·  Cleansing the temple (Matt. 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17)

·  Return to Bethany (Mark 11:19)

Tuesday ·  Debates with religious leaders in Jerusalem and teaching in the temple (Matt. 21:23-23:39; Mark 11:27-12:44)

·  Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:1-25:46; Mark 13:1-37)

Wednesday ·  “Silent Wednesday” – Jesus and his disciples remain in Bethany

·  Judas makes arrangements for the betrayal

(Matt. 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11)

Thursday ·  Preparations for Passover (Matt. 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16)

·  Passover meal and Last Supper (Matt. 26:20-25;

Mark 12:17-25)

·  Upper Room discourses (John 13-17)

·  Prayers in Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:36-46;

Mark 14:32-42

Friday ·  Betrayal and arrest (Matt. 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-50)

·  Jewish trial

Annas – John 18:13-24

Caiaphas – Matt. 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65

Sanhedrin – Matt. 27:1-2; Mark 15:1

·  Roman trial (three phases)

Pilate – Matt. 27:2-14; Mark 15:2-5

·  Crucifixion (approx 9:00am to 3:00pm; Matt. 27:27-54;

Mark 15:16-39)

Sunday ·  Resurrection witnesses (Matt. 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8;

Luke 24:1-12)

·  Jesus’ resurrection appearances (Matt. 28:9-20;

Luke 24:13-53; John 20-21


I know it’s still five days away, but begin preparing your heart for the most important week in human history.

It’s a privilege serving the Branch and I look forward to how God is going to work this Easter Season. May God bless you this week!

Pastor Justin



  • We have regular service times at the regular service place for Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, but we’ll be joining the Cypress Campus for Maundy Thursday (6:30pm) and Good Friday (7:00 pm). The Cypress Campus is located at 6143 Ball Road, Cypress.
  • Speaking of working and Easter Week … Not only will we attend these services, but since we’re one church on multiple campuses, we’re responsible for setting up and decorating for the Maundy Thursday service. We’ll do most of it on the Wednesday evening before. Please let me know if you’re interested in joining us.
  • That’s not all the work to be done. We need to do the work of inviting our friends and family to join us for Easter services as well as getting the word out. If you’d like to take some fliers to neighborhoods in Los Alamitos and Rossmoor, let me know and I’ll get you the fliers and a map that will take you about 60-90 minutes to cover.

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