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Posts Tagged ‘easter’

He is Alive!

Consider the dark and solemn images of the days leading up to Easter. It was dark at Christ’s arrest on Thursday. It was darker at His crucifixion and burial on Good Friday. How dark and sorrowful it must have been for His followers as they observed the Sabbath and, in keeping with Hebrew law and custom, could not do any work, much less attend to the broken body of Christ.

But the mood changed rapidly on Easter morning. Christ’s friends and followers discovered that the body was no longer in the tomb. They learned from Christ and the angels that He is Risen.

HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN, INDEED!

What joy overwhelms us with these words! From what appeared to be the unbelievable defeat of God at Calvary we burst into the ecstatic joy of Christ’s resurrection.

Jesus’ friends arrive at his tomb and they’re toldimage
he isn’t here
you didn’t see that coming, did you?
he’s isn’t here
there is nothing to fear
and nothing can ever be the same again
we are living in a world in the midst of rescue
with endless unexpected possibilities

do you believe this?
that’s the question Jesus asked then
and that’s the question he asks now

– Rob Bell

The great hymn “Christ Arose”, by Robert Lowry came to his mind as he was enjoying his devotions one evening. He was impressed by the words of the angel at Christ’s empty tomb, who said to the frightened women, “He is not here, but is risen!” The tune he composed moves from the somber verse to the joyful chorus.

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

May you today meet the risen Jesus.  May you today experience this victory, because he did this for you. May you reflect on what this means for your community and for yourself.  May you come to know this day is the first day of the rest of your life.

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Rusty Nail

The New Testament teaches that the resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of the Christian faith.  The resurrection established Jesus as the powerful Son of God.  God has given Christians a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Christians, through faith in the working of God are spiritually resurrected with Jesus so that they may walk in a new way of eternal life.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”  ~ John 11:25-26

Everybody believes something, and everybody believes somebody. Jesus’ resurrection is an invitation to a different way of living – an eternal life. It’s easy to lose focus on the life in the rats and mice of the here and now.

Eternity is here and now, it just goes on for longer.  God placed eternity within our hearts. It’s what we long for, what we made for. Jesus rising from the dead invites us to this life.

Jesus invites us to trust resurrection
that every glimmer of good
every hint of hope
every impulse that elevates the soul
is a sign, a taste, a glimpse
of how things actually are
and how things will ultimately be
resurrection affirms this life and the next
as a seamless reality
embraced
graced
and saved by God
~ Rob Bell

This Easter may you glimpse this seamless reality of eternity, how things are and will be, the life between the now and the not yet. If you seek it you will find it.  May you trust and embrace the message of Easter. Jesus rose and is alive and is reaching out for your hand. Will you take it?

Rusty Nail

Rusty nail on a dusty roadimage
There’s a scar in the palm of your hand
There’s an empty cross and a vacant tomb
And a love that I’ll never understand

I guess my leaving you was much too hard
For your old soul to stand
So here I am, I’m right back here again
And I’m reaching out for your hand

~ Derek Lind

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On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame; and I love that old cross where the dearest and best, for a world of lost sinners was slain. You may recognize this first verse of the classic hymn by George Bennard, The Old Rugged Cross. This sums up for a lot of people, the Easter message. To a lot of people Easter is about Jesus and how they approach the cross, from a distance, from far away, from a position of intrigue but without intent, at arms length and not with arms wide open. This is not wrong, it just is.

The Easter message is a message of hope, of life, of power, of comfort, of salvation and of grace. It fulfills our aching longing in our faithless heart, the space where Jesus can live and create and liberate, if only we would let him in. If only we would have the courage to tell others. Why are we so afraid? What scares us? What am I afraid of?

This Easter I have the honour and privilege of talking with a whole bunch of young people about Jesus at an Easter Camp in Waikato, New Zealand. I hope to talk to them about my relationship with my Jesus. How he is the breath we breathe, how he is the rest we need for the rest of our life, and how if only, we would believe in him, we would enter into the best part of the rest of our life, his rest, and his eternal hope of glory.

This is what I hope to talk about. God of course, may have other ideas. I’m open to this. Actually I’m not open to it – I’m really scared. I’m a planner, it’s my job, it’s what I do, it’s how I approach life. Plan it, then build it, and they will come. I’m trying really hard not to plan my message, but I have. Now I need to be prepared to throw it all away if this is what God wants and talk about something else – God’s plan – not mine. More of him, less, much less of me. How will I do this? By faith I guess. I’m so excited and so scared and afraid all at the same time.

All I really know for sure is that God will be with me, because:

  • I dare to believe in a God I cannot see.
  • I dare to put my faith in a God that is way bigger than my ego, and my selfish ways
  • I dare to stick with my faith, when things get tough – when I can’t explain why people die of cancer or are about to, when I can’t explain why I might be next, when I have no answers left. When I have so many questions.

I need to be true in what I believe, whatever that really means. I need to believe in a God so much that it aches in every fibre of my being. Because in that moment, in that moment of truth where my faith crashes into my life  –  a strange and beautiful exchange happens. This is what Easter and the cross means to me. And so:

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.

So what about you my friend? What does Easter mean to you? Will you share your experience – your message, your story. Why not be real and share it here or somewhere this week. Dare you. Your words may be the difference for someone who deperately needs to hear the greatest story ever told – the message of Easter.

Wishing you a blessed Easter my friend.

The Message

For my death you gave me life
For my gain you took my loss
For my fear you gave my joy
Upon that rugged cross

For my affliction you gave me beauty
For my gain you took my loss
For my sin you gave your son
Upon that rugged cross

For my friends you gave your life
For my gain you took my loss
For my world has ever changed
Because of the rugged cross

So as I speak your word today
As you seek to find the lost
For my king and my Lord
Let me speak about the cross.

Do you know that Jesus loves you?
For this I know is true
All you have to do tonight
Is believe –  he died for you

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Through the wreckage of my life
Let me climb to You,
The one who moved my mountain
To create my faith anew.

For to me You are My Rock
In the rubble of my strife,
Through Your resurrection
By grace, You saved my life.

I believe You came to save me
When You hung at Calvary,
Let us walk this road together
From here to eternity

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
~ John 11:25-26

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