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Archive for the ‘Easter’ Category

Plus One…

Looking forward to seeing what God does during our Easter Gathering through our Plus One micro-initiative.

It’s pretty simple…invite who you’ve invested in. As you’re around friends this week who normally don’t do church, ask them what they’re doing for Easter and let them know you’d love for them to come to our gathering.

Odds are they’ll at least keep the door open to that possibility. Check with them later in the week to see if they can make it.

I had someone ask me if this is social manipulation – a spiritual version of Amway where you use someone to sell a product.

My response – ‘I just think this is what friends do for each other. We talk about the things that matter most to us and invite people to share experiences and make memories together.’

So maybe it’s obvious why you’re marginally-churched friend needs to hear me talk about who Jesus is from I John on Sunday. What might get lost is that my resistance to loving people well enough to know them and/or get them around God and his people exposes that I’m not sure about who Jesus is either.

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Mars Hill in Seattle made a 30 minute film for Good Friday in an effort to show the visual horror of the cross.

We’ll host a Good Friday gathering (7pm in our new facility in the Faith Pres building) to tell that same story – with nothing more than Aaron and his guitar and me and my Bible.

Lesson – use what God gives you…that’s always enough.

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Back in March, I unveiled our intention to be a church that makes much of God by making disciples – ‘little Christs’ as CS Lewis put it years ago.

The process of discipleship takes place in time and space – so one of the reasons that we take this one day that we call Easter and focus all of our attention on the implications that Jesus experienced resurrection is that we need regular reminders and rhythms.

And because Easter is the most important day of the year for the Church (which means we should throw one heck of a party!) we need to reignite a passionate focus on the cross and the empty tomb.

To help you in that endeavor, let me suggest three different books based on how well you read and/or your spiritual maturity:

  • ‘I don’t love to read’/’I need to keep things simple’ – 50 ReasonsĀ  Why Jesus Came to Die (free .pdf) by John Piper
  • ‘I’ll read something if it’s good’/’I know enough to know that I need my heart and mind to grow’ – Scandalous by D.A. Carson
  • ‘I like big books and I cannot lie’/’I love to wrestle with complex theological questions’ – Surprised By Hope by NT Wright

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The highlight of every year in the Church is Easter – no day captures the joy and hope that sets us apart from the world than the reflection and celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

Over the next few weeks, we want to help you prepare well for Easter on April 4th. I’ll kick things off by recommending a book written specifically for Easter:

Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross is a series of essays by pastors and writers like John Piper, CJ Mahaney, Tim Keller – and old dead guys like Charles Spurgeon, John Owen and Jonathan Edwards. I read it last year – and am reading it this year with Lindsey – and have found it to be a really helpful and moving gift from God as this gives you twenty-five days to draw down on the truths and implications of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

If you’d like to pick up a copy – or get more information – here’s the link to the book on Amazon.

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Sunday is our Super Bowl as Christians – as clear of an opportunity for us to be on mission in community because of the gospel as we have all year. This is a season in why our life of worship is injected with new life as we come close to the cross and experience the reality of resurrection.

A few things to help you the rest of the week as we move towards Good Friday and Easter:

  1. Be in the Scriptures. I’m reading all four gospels this week – the extended time has already been good for my soul. Read until your heart melts at the mercy and justice of God.
  2. Stay in town. This is not the weekend for family reunions. Be on mission and invite someone or a group of someones into the life of our community (more on that in a minute). You can visit your parents some other time – you’ve got work to do!
  3. Read this and watch that and pray for the Spirit to open your eyes to the opportunities already around you. The video by Darrin Patrick is something you absolutely must watch.
  4. Show up early and plan on staying late for our Good Friday gathering – 7:00 at Faith Presbyterian Church. We need to come near the cross and take in the horrific reality that we killed Jesus. You will need time to prepare before and time to process afterwards. If your parents insist on you coming home for Easter (and that’s their call), then be part of this before you head home.
  5. Pray for people around you who don’t know Jesus and invite them to come with you to our Easter gathering. We’re going to make a fuss about Jesus and call people to new life in Christ. It’s going to be unbelievable! 10am at WCA. Be there!

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Easter is the single most important day of the year for Christians – a day designed to join God in his mission.

This year, we need your help in two ways:
1. Show up at 9:45 for our worship gathering on Easter, which is April 12.
2. Be willing to share your story if you’ve been changed this year by the gospel, community and/or mission.

If you go home to visit family on Easter, would you ask them if it would be OK for you to stay here this year so you can bring other people to our gathering with you. Promise you’ll come home the next week – but there are people around you who need Jesus and will come with you if you ask. If your mom or dad says no and wants you to go home, then go home and honor them with your obedience. But if they know you’re staying here because you want other people to know Jesus, they might say yes – and who knows, they might make a road trip to be with you on Easter.

We’re also going to take time during the worship gathering for people to share stories about how their lives have been changed this year as the gospel has increasingly replaced religion as the engine of life, community has trumped doing life alone and very real ways of joining Jesus in his mission have come to fruition. If you’d like the chance to tell your story, let me know by the end of this week. We’ll probably do this by video so you wouldn’t be standing in front of a room full of people.

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We need the cross because we wander away from God.

We wander away from God because we don’t believe God is enough.

Luke 15 reminds us that what we need is an older brother who will risk everything to bring us home.

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