Isaac Peabody, who goes by the stage name Peabod, brings to the Centricity label (which is home to Lauren Daigle, Jordan Feliz and many more great artists) exciting talent and a unique sound: hip-hop. The 24-year old caught the label’s attention with his independently produced music, an assortment of meticulously crafted rap songs. Peabod puts a new spin on the genre, yielding infectious positivity and wordplay that connect with audiences of all ages. He is a fun middle school-high school kind of guy that your students will love!
I saw something last week that absolutely fascinated me. I don’t know if I would have believed it had I not seen it. Four university students were in the parking lot at our local grocery store just north of Atlanta. I heard them talking about how nervous they were about going inside to shop and how anxious they were about their future prospects. They all returned home early from their college campuses, three would not get an in-person graduation ceremony, and all of their job plans had evaporated.
The conversation shifted when one of the students said, “Maybe we need to get our minds off our own problems.” There was a pause. Then she continued, “I’m going to look for the next person I see in this parking lot who looks like they need help, and I’m going to help them.”
Moments later, the magic happened.
An elderly couple drove slowly into a parking spot and sat in their car with the engine running. She approached the driver and said, “Are you OK? Do you need anything?” The driver, a man in his 80s, replied, “You must be an angel. My wife and I are terrified to go into the supermarket to shop. Could you help us?”
The young lady smiled and said, “Of course! Give me your list, and you stay right here.” The man handed her a hundred dollar bill and his shopping list, and she was off to serve as a personal shopper.
As I watched, I eventually realized both sides had just won.
The Best Part of the Story
In essence, this young woman was saying, “I think the secret to beating my anxiety is to get busy helping other people.” I think she’s right. I am certainly not claiming that this is a comprehensive remedy for all anxiety or mental health issues. There is a place for counseling, management, and even medication at times. But so much of our anxiety during this COVID-19 pandemic stems from the fact that we’re isolated in our homes, watching the news, and feeling very uncertain about our futures. We’re consumed with “me.”
Greta Thunberg is another example. While I recognize she’s a controversial teen from Sweden, protesting climate change, she has openly admitted that she’s struggled with depression in the past. She acknowledged, however, that getting involved in her cause has helped her beat that depression. Service and involvement are saving her.
My own son made this discovery as a young man. He had his own battle with depressive moods yet told me one day, “I have much better days when I lose myself in using my gifts to serve others. What I focus on can make me or break me.”
Using This Secret Weapon
Especially during this season of self-quarantine, what if we all discovered this “secret weapon” and used it. It is crucial during times of uncertainty to focus on something outside of ourselves and invest our time and energy in the service of others. It’s what our world celebrates on TV these days as we cheer on medical staff and first responders, people serving on the front lines of this battle with COVID-19. So, here’s the secret:
- Find something or someone you care about.
- Discover if there is a need to be met or a problem to be solved.
- Determine what resources you have to offer.
- Begin small and start focusing on meeting that need.
- Watch to see if it morphs into something bigger.
- Enjoy the endorphins, those happy chemicals inside you, as you serve.
My wife and I have made our own fresh discovery of this simple, secret weapon. We’ve been able to find places to donate funds; she has found neighbors for whom she can deliver groceries, and we have called people we haven’t spoken to in years to check up on them and encourage them. This secret weapon should not be a secret.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
– 2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV
I’ll never forget this verse as long as I live because it was the FIRST scripture I remember my mom teaching me when I was a child. I don’t know why it was the first, but today I would guess that mom knew what I didn’t… that Satan would attack my heart with fear more than anything else in my lifetime. She would be right even to this day. I still hear all of the same voices today that I did when I was a child, but thankfully today I understand how to fight the lies so much better.
- Nobody loves you
- Nobody wants you to win
- They’re all laughing at you
- God is ashamed of you
- You’ll never make your parents proud
- You’ll never be successful at anything
I still hear the same voices, but as my mother used to say: “Sometime’s you’ve got to tell the devil to SHUT UP.” I don’t know what fear you are facing today but this scripture has become bedrock principle in my personal fight with fear. When you feel fear, you can know that it is not God speaking those words into your ears. The mind God has promised you is clear, strong, and more than able to deal with whatever He allows into your life. You can claim that sound mind today. You can do this…. why? Because He said you could. So today choose to walk with the spirit of POWER, LOVE and SOUND MIND.
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Day 8: Resurrection Sunday!
The Garden Tomb in Jerusalem, believed to be the burial place of Jesus. Steve Allen / Getty Images
On Resurrection Sunday we reach the culmination of Holy Week. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important event, the crux, you might say, of the Christian faith. The very foundation of all Christian doctrine hinges on the truth of this account.
Early Sunday morning several women (Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Joanna, and Salome) went to the tomb and discovered that the large stone covering the tomb’s entrance had been rolled away. An angel announced, “Don’t be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.” (Matthew 28:5-6, NLT)
On the day of his resurrection, Jesus Christ made at least five appearances. Mark’s Gospel says the first person to see him was Mary Magdalene. Jesus also appeared to Peter, to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and later that day to all of the disciples except Thomas, while they were gathered in a house for prayer.
The eyewitness accounts in the Gospels provide undeniable evidence that the resurrection of Jesus Christ happened. 2,000 years after his death, followers of Christ still flock to see the empty tomb, one of the strongest proofs that Jesus Christ actually did rise from the dead.
- Sunday’s events are recorded in Matthew 28:1-13, Mark 16:1-14, Luke 24:1-49, and John 20:1-23.
Day 7: Saturday in the Tomb
Disciples at the scene of the entombment of Jesus after his crucifixion. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Jesus’ body lay in the tomb where it was guarded by Roman soldiers throughout the day on Saturday, which was the Sabbath. When the Sabbath ended at 6 p.m., Christ’s body was ceremonially treated for burial with spices purchased by Nicodemus:
“He brought about seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes. Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth.” (John 19: 39-40, NLT)
Nicodemus, like Joseph of Arimathea, was a member of the Sanhedrin, the court which had condemned Jesus Christ to death. For a time, both men had lived as secret followers of Jesus, afraid to make a public profession of faith because of their prominent positions in the Jewish community.
Similarly, both were deeply affected by Christ’s death. They boldly came out of hiding, risking their reputations and their lives because they had come to realize that Jesus was, indeed, the long-awaited Messiah. Together they cared for Jesus’ body and prepared it for burial.
While his physical body lay in the tomb, Jesus Christ paid the penalty for sin by offering the perfect, spotless sacrifice. He conquered death, both spiritually and physically, securing our eternal salvation:
“For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” (1 Peter 1:18-19, NLT)
- Saturday’s events are recorded in Matthew 27:62-66, Mark 16:1, Luke 23:56, and John 19:40.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God. Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help. Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet— I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. But you, O Lord, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid! Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog! Save me from the mouth of the lion! You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen! I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel! For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him. The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive. Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.”
Psalms 22:1-31 ESV
Day 6: Good Friday’s Trial, Crucifixion, Death, Burial
“The Crucifixion” by Bartolomeo Suardi (1515). DEA / G. CIGOLINI / Getty Images
According to Scripture, Judas Iscariot, the disciple who had betrayed Jesus, was overcome with remorse and hanged himself early Friday morning.
Meanwhile, before the third hour (9 a.m.), Jesus endured the shame of false accusations, condemnation, mockery, beatings, and abandonment. After multiple unlawful trials, he was sentenced to death by crucifixion, one of the most horrible and disgraceful methods of capital punishment.
Before Christ was led away, soldiers spit on him, tormented and mocked him, and pierced him with a crown of thorns. Then Jesus carried his own cross to Calvary where, again, he was mocked and insulted as Roman soldiers nailed him to the wooden cross.
Jesus spoke seven final statements from the cross. His first words were, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34, NIV). His last were, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46, NIV)
Then, about the ninth hour (3 p.m.), Jesus breathed his last and died.
- Friday’s events are recorded in Matthew 27:1-62, Mark 15:1-47, Luke 22:63-23:56, and John 18:28-19:37.
Day 5: Thursday’s Passover, Last Supper
‘The Last Supper’ by Leonardo Da Vinci. Leemage/UIG via Getty Images
Holy Week takes a somber turn on Thursday.
From Bethany Jesus sent Peter and John ahead to the Upper Room in Jerusalem to make the preparations for the Passover Feast. That evening after sunset, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples as they prepared to share in the Passover. By performing this humble act of service, Jesus demonstrated by example how believers are to love one another. Today, many churches practice foot-washing ceremonies as a part of their Maundy Thursday services.
Then Jesus shared the feast of Passover with his disciples saying, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 22:15-16, NLT)
As the Lamb of God, Jesus was about to fulfill the meaning of the Passover by giving his body to be broken and his blood to be shed in sacrifice, freeing us from sin and death. During this Last Supper, Jesus established the Lord’s Supper, or Communion, instructing his followers to continually remember his sacrifice by sharing in the elements of bread and wine (Luke 22:19-20).
Later Jesus and the disciples left the Upper Room and went to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed in agony to God the Father. Luke’s Gospel says “his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44, ESV)
Late that evening in Gethsemane, Jesus was betrayed with a kiss by Judas Iscariot and arrested by the Sanhedrin. He was taken to the home of Caiaphas, the High Priest, where the whole council had gathered to begin making their case against Jesus.
Meanwhile, in the early morning hours, as Jesus’ trial was getting underway, Peter denied knowing his Master three times before the rooster crowed.
- Thursday’s events are recorded in Matthew 26:17–75, Mark 14:12-72, Luke 22:7-62, and John 13:1-38.