Weekly Blog

The True Reason for the Season

It seems to me that the title of this blog is more often used as related to Christmas than Easter. I love Christmas and always have. With all the traditions from my childhood, the birth of our Lord and Savior has remained a joyous holiday for me.  

As I get older and grow more spiritually though, I find that Easter is the most meaningful of our Christian celebrations…the true reason for the season. Jesus’ torturous crucifixion, followed by His resurrection…each foundational to our faith. 

The Passion of the Christ came out in 2004 and since my conversion in 2006, I’ve watched it every Good Friday. Originally with my Dad prior to his passing and now watching alone (including this Friday), it is the movie that most speaks to the meaning of our faith to me (and I’m a huge fan of Chosen). What a gift from Mel Gibson and Jim Caviezel, really a work of God.

When watching, I often imagine myself there, wondering what I would do, how I would react. Would I run or would I stay? I know that regardless Jesus would have still loved me. We have the benefit of having 2,000 years of history on our side. We know the end of the story. We know Jesus won victory for us. 

I think that Easter gives us an opportunity to start anew. Easier said than done, simple but not easy, Jesus laid it out for us in the:

  • Great CommandmentsMark 12:30-31, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 
  • Great Commission – Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, 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 you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Paraphrasing, Jesus directs us to love God, love our neighbors, and share the love of Christ…that’s it. Not mere suggestions, Jesus tells us specifically what to do. That’s our faith. In our crazy, crazy world, I think that if we all did more of that…what a difference it would make. 

I wish you and your family a Holy and Happy Easter. During this time, let us reflect on what Jesus has done for us while we rejoice in His glory. Below I’ve included a prayer that you may have seen before…I wrote it in 2009 and say it every day. It speaks to Easter. It speaks to the Great Commandments and Great Commission. And it speaks to me in my walk with our Lord. Enjoy. Happy Easter. 

Thank you God our Father; Thank you Jesus!!!

Dear Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, thank you for dying that torturous death on the cross for each one of us, including me. Thank you for rising from the dead so that I can live in Your Glory. God the Father, thank you for loving me enough to give me your only begotten Son.

Lord, thank you for my journey, every step along the way…the good, the great, the wonderful, the bad, the terrible, the ugly. I am where I am because it is where You want me to be. I am who I am because it’s who You are making me to be. I trust in You to make me and shape me for Your Glory.

Thank you for loving me, blessing me, showing me Your Will, showering me with Your Grace, and granting me Your Peace, which can only come from being in a place of Surrender, Gratitude, Humility, and Love.

Lord Jesus, help me to feel your Unconditional Love and Unconditional Forgiveness, fully internalizing and living these gifts, so that with Holy Spirit Boldness, using my God given gifts, not caring what anyone on this earth thinks of me, I can be all that You want me to be, in serving You.

Dear Lord, help me to always see Christ in All and be Christ to All, Living Your Will, helping others become the best versions of themselves, which is True Love…Christ’s Love. Please give me the strength and courage to evangelize my Faith, living the Gospel, sharing the Gospel, using words when necessary and often. When done for the Glory of God, the unimaginable is achievable.

I ask this blessing for my family, friends, and myself, in addition to all those on Your Journey….grant us peace. For all those seeking, help us find. For all those lost, help us see.

I ask this in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

As always, please email me at with questions, concerns, comments, or prayer requests. 

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Remember…God made you for Greatness!!!

Mark Joseph

Weekly Blog

What Does the NFL Draft Have to do with Easter Sunday?

Prior to the inaugural National Football League (NFL) draft in 1936, players were free to sign with any club, which made the stronger teams even stronger and created much disparity. On May 19th, 1935, the league owners adopted a plan for a college player draft. Proposed by Bert Bell, the Eagles owner and future NFL commissioner, the plan called for teams to select players in inverse order of their finish the previous season.

Starting with 9 rounds in 1936, it expanded to 10 and eventually 20, before being reduced back down to 12 rounds, which it has today. In massively meeting its objective of parity between teams, it was adopted by all the other leagues, i.e. MLB, NHL, NBA, changing sports universally. For the NFL, it’s become a HUGE event, with literally millions tuning in every year.

Image by the Post Gazette

NFL teams over the years have built their success on the draft and the great picks they’ve made, whether it be San Francisco in the 80s, Dallas in the 90s, or numerous other teams during the league’s history. Without question, the first to do it with such great success was the Pittsburgh Steelers, under coach Chuck Noll. Before free agency, the dynasty that won four Super Bowls in the 70s, did it entirely on the strength of the draft, with Hall of Famers from the first round that include Terry Bradshaw, Joe Greene, Franco Harris, and Lynn Swann. Add to the list other Steeler Hall of Famers from the 70s…Stallworth, Webster, Ham, Lambert, Blount, and Shell.

Forgive me for this walk down memory lane, but growing up in Pittsburgh, in the 70s was a special time for Steeler fans. It was incredible to be part of it Sunday after Sunday, Super Bowl after Super Bowl.

So what is it about the NFL Draft, that will take place between tomorrow, April 23rd, and Saturday, April 25th that reminds me of Easter? I think the answer is “hope”. Think about it. Regardless of the team you root for, no matter the sport, when it comes to the annual draft, you anxiously wait, or at least are interested in, who the first several picks will be. Particularly when it comes to your team, you wonder what impact the player is going to have. You’re hopeful that it will be positive and significantly so. You have hope for the future (of your team), yet there is still the unknown. Will the draft choice develop into a star? Will the team perform well?

Image by DesignPics

I hope (no pun intended) you don’t think poorly of me because of this analogy, but I think the above relates to Easter Sunday. Jesus’ resurrection gives us hopeKnowing how Jesus had to love us to die on the Cross, gives us hopeOur faith gives us hope. Although we “know” the end of the story, that we won, that Jesus promises us salvation, there’s still the unknown. Although we have hope, we have questions like:

  • Will I go to Heaven? How do I get there?
  • What type of life am I to live on earth?
  • What’s my purpose? My call?

In short, it’s up to you. Ironically, you can gain salvation by living Heaven here on earth. That’s done by loving God, loving your neighbor, embracing your God given purpose, and following God’s will….which is the ONLY path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment.

So like with the NFL draft, where we have hope yet uncertainties, the same is true in knowing that Jesus rose from the dead. Unlike the draft though, when it comes to Jesus’ Resurrection and its impact on your life, it’s all up to you.

As always, feel free to contact me at with comments, questions, or concerns.

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph