Encouragement From The Word

The wildest thing in the world

Last week, my wife forwarded a tweet to me that really resonated.  It was written by a writer and speaker named Kaitlyn Schiess.  She wrote:

A few days ago someone who is not a Christian said to me,

“If Jesus Christ really was raised from the dead, that is the wildest thing in the world
and I don’t know how you’d ever be able to get over that.”

She’s right, and I cannot stop thinking about how clearly she saw it.

Do you ever wonder what your friends who do not follow Jesus think about the claims he made, or the claims we make on his behalf?  In many cases, we simply view them as facts we have held dear for a long time, but in our holding dear, do you suppose we sometimes take these claims for granted?

The resurrection of Jesus – if it is true, as we believe it to be – is the most amazing thing ever!  It’s more amazing than flying to the moon, more amazing than a seaside sunset, more amazing than tiger tail ice cream (okay, that last one is a personal bias).  It is the most remarkable phenomenon that has ever occurred.  Ever.

It’s so remarkable that it affected time itself:  the world measures time based on the person of Jesus.  (A.D., after all, stands for anno domini – the year of our Lord – and even though many people choose to use C.E. nowadays, standing for ‘common era’, it still hearkens back to the fact that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection affected how we tell time.)

We are invited to live as a people of the resurrection, this world-altering phenomenon that so many of us simply take for granted.  It really is, as the writer’s friend said, “the wildest thing in the world.”

Yet many followers of Jesus seem to live as if they have gotten over it.  That’s a mistake.

We should live as the beneficiaries of the resurrection:  we are invited, not only to look forward to the eternal life that it bought us, but to live out the life and joy it brings us today.

When your friends look at you, do they see the joy of the victory of resurrection life in you?

Let’s live out the truth of what Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.  Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die” (John 11.25-26a, NLT). 

Biblical Messages

He is Risen!

In this Easter service, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, and share the Lord’s Supper together. In reading Matthew 28.1-15, we look at the theories that have been posed to try to refute the resurrection, and consider why Jesus’ exit from the grave matters for us today. You can watch the message below, or the whole worship gathering below that.

Encouragement From The Word

Keep your Alleluias!

This week marked Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent.  I saw a post on social media about the tradition that some have during this period of the year where they put away, or “bury”, their “Alleluias” – they do not use this term to praise the Lord throughout the season of Lent, as a sign of penitence.

I think this is a wrong and misguided tradition.  Let me tell you why.

Sometimes, little words make a big difference.  For example, the church marks the Sundays in Lent, not the Sundays of Lent.  What’s the difference?  Well, Lent is marked for forty days, that being a biblically significant number (think flood, exodus, temptation, etc.).  But if you count the number of days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Day, you will find more than forty.  Why?

Because the Sundays aren’t included.  Every Sunday, no matter the season, is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus.  So yes, you might hide your Alleluias from Monday to Saturday, but on Sunday, you are enjoined to haul them back out, because even though we trace the route to the cross in Lent, each Sunday remains a celebration of the resurrection, a “little Easter”.  

Whatever you may choose to do to mark the season of Lent, set it aside as you enter public worship, because every Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection.  It is a break from the fast.  It is a relief from the penitence.  

And we can count it all joy.

Praise the Lord!

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heaven!
Praise him for his mighty works;
    praise his unequaled greatness!
Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn;
    praise him with the lyre and harp!
Praise him with the tambourine and dancing;
    praise him with strings and flutes!
Praise him with a clash of cymbals;
    praise him with loud clanging cymbals.
Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord!

Praise the Lord!  (Psalm 150, NLT)

Biblical Messages

Digital Easter Celebration 2020

For the first time in history, the church is celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ in digital only…since Coronavirus keeps us from gathering, this will have to do! In this service, we hear a message based on Romans 6.1-11, which begins at 13:22. We also have a virtual celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and hear a solo.  Watch below!

Biblical Messages

Arrive Alive

“Arrive Alive” has been used as a tagline to discourage impaired driving for many years, but it’s a good word for God’s people to proclaim to the world, too!  This message starts at 30:37, and is based on 1 Corinthians 15.21-25.  I chose this message title because it was Civic Services Appreciation Sunday, when we welcomed Police, Fire, EMS and politicians from the area who serve our community to come and be recognized and thanked for their work.

The video from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” – the audio for which did not work for us in this gathering – can be found here.

Biblical Messages, Uncategorized

Gloriously Undead

The message of Easter is that Jesus’ resurrection sets us free from sin and grants us life eternal.  Who doesn’t want that?  Yet many of us place barriers in the way.  The big question in this message, based on 1 Corinthians 15.35-39, 50-58 is this:  What has to die in you so that Jesus can come alive?  Listen here:

Biblical Messages

How Deep?

Stuart Townend’s song exclaims, “How deep the Father’s love for us!  How vast beyond all measure!”  As we heard the resurrection story from Matthew 28, and the inspiration for Townend’s song in 1 John 3.1-10, we asked the question, “How Deep?” in today’s Easter celebration message.  Listen here: