What Defines

Posted by Marc Schwichtenberg, Lead Pastor on

“I know what those are, Daddy! Do you?”

My then four-year-old daughter Abby was looking over my aching back as I stretched to put together a new bookcase. It was the typical kind made of “simulated wood” laminated to particleboard—that takes the flexibility of a contortion artist to get together. The project was actually going well and I simply needed to attach the back panel—which suspiciously felt like simulated wood cardboard.

Abby was pointing to the pile of factory-supplied fasteners that lay on the floor next to the job. “These are nails, Daddy!”

While her incredible grasp on the ordinary certainly wasn’t a stroke of genius, her reference point caught my attention. “I know they are nails, Daddy, because Jesus was nailed to the cross for me.”


It made me think. What if I defined everything in my experience through the cross and the One who died for me? How would that change how I react or respond in the face of challenge as well as through blessing? Would I be more confident that I am loved and have no need to impress anyone? Would I be less prone to worry or fear? Would I be less discouraged or more encouraging to others? Would I be more thankful or content with what I have? Would I worship more faithfully…consistently? Would I be more generous with all that I am? Would I be happier?

I am convinced that the cross of Jesus is all about the redefining of our lives through the forgiveness and renewal that His cross brings about. When you ponder its significance in showing the personal willingness of God to reach out to each of us, our lives can’t help but be redefined. His passion and compassion become our passion and compassion. His priorities become our priorities. We begin to say with the apostle Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Or Peter, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

During our Lenten journey together, I pray that you would lose yourself in the eternal love of your Savior who went the way of the cross for you. May it be what defines you and your life…which is really His life lived in you.


In Jesus I am Yours,


Marc Schwichtenberg
Senior Pastor


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