Easter Sunday

Pastor Chris Justice

I love Easter Sunday!!!  This is a great day of celebration because Jesus took our place in death and won our rescue when He was raised from the dead.

While I was not there to see the risen Christ... John was.

In John’s Gospel, he wrote about the life and ministry of Christ.  He also wrote about the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.  Then, near the end, he provided a purpose statement for why he wrote the letter.   

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
-John 20:30-31

This Scripture is true in my life and has changed my life.  Here’s why;
I do believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
I do believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
I do believe that Jesus has given me a new life in His name.  

I believe these things because the Holy Spirit brought me to the point where I could clearly see and believe, and by faith, receive Christ as my Savior.  I was a proud, arrogant sort of guy.  I thought I had the intellect and strength to get along just fine without admitting my need for a Savior.  I’m so glad for God’s amazing grace to come to me and rescue me.  

As the old hymn goes - I once was lost but now I’m found… Was blind but now I see.

My prayer is that you too will clearly see and believe, and by faith, receive Christ as your Savior.  It will change your life too.  

Like John, I wanted to share this so that you might believe...  that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Happy Easter!!!

Love at the Cross

Pastor Sam Phipps

Romans 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Think about all that Christ did for us at the cross.  Everything that Jesus did, he did out of love.  Romans 5:8  says “while we were still sinners”. Before we even knew God, before we even knew we needed God in our life, Jesus died for us.

The cross of Christ teaches us 3 things:

1. God Loves us Unconditionally

He loves us so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross for us, that we might have everlasting life. His love is not based on performance. Christ loves you so much that while you were yet a sinner, He died for you.  God's love for us is unconditional and undeserved.

2. God loves us Sacrificially

John 3:16 assures us that God loves so much that he allowed His only son to come to the earth, to live, teach, heal and then be beaten, mocked and nailed to a cross, to die and then be resurrected on the third day.  Because He loves us.

3. We Are Commanded to Love

When asked which is the most important command in the laws of Moses,  Jesus replied, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. The second most important is similar: 'Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.'

Rejoice in the love of our heavenly Father, love Him and love others with the love He has shown us!

O love of God, how rich and pure!  How measureless and strong!

It shall for evermore endure.  The saints' and angels' song.

Living in Christ

Pastor Chris Griffin

I want to share a few things that Easter brings to my mind, particularly as Discipleship Pastor.  Easter is an incredible time of year as we remember the atoning death and resurrection of Christ. It is from this eternally significant event that the believer finds both hope and challenge in this life. The believer is not just trusting in a historical occasion, rather the believer dedicates their life to live in a posture of repentance and living the gospel message by being a follower of Christ. Here are a few ways we do this.

1) The believer lives according to His words. There is no greater message and instruction manual than God’s Word. We need to engage in Bible intake every day (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

2) The believer lives out His ways. Christ has given us an example of how to live and calls us to walk the way that He walked (1 John 2:6).

3) The believer lives to fulfill His wants. The life of the believer is resigned to the goal of accomplishing the work He has ordained for you. To follow Christ is to seek His will in your life (John 12:26).

I sincerely hope that this Easter season finds you celebrating the life you have in Christ and the joy that is found in walking with Him and serving Him. It is my privilege to serve with you all!

A Reminder

Pastor Shane Dunlap

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
1 Peter 2:9

Easter reminds us of so many things. It reminds of the death that we deserved, yet Jesus took our place. It reminds us of victory over death in the resurrection of Christ. It reminds us of the life we have in Him, both here and forever. It reminds us of the story that we are charged with telling in the Great Commission. It reminds us of why we gather each week and proclaim the praises of the One who provides these things. The definition of worship uses many terms to explain its significance. It uses words like adoration, glorification, exaltation, honor.

The passion week reminds us of why we gather each week. We gather to worship the Lord for who He is and what He has done. The first light of Sunday morning will remind us of the empty tomb, but as Peter stated, it reminds us of the Light of the World; a light that He gives us access to through His precious blood.  

 

Risen

Pastor Kit Latta

Mark 16:6 And he said to them, "Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him.

“He has risen.”  This is personal for me and I hope it is for you too. The resurrection represents the birth of Christianity and in this Christianity stands alone among all other religions.  To accept Christianity, you must accept this.  He has risen!  As one commentator stated, “Other religions are primarily philosophies.  They are sets of teachings about how to live.”  Be good.  Become one with the universe.  Tap into your inner god.

But Christianity is an announcement.  It is an announcement of what God has already done on your behalf.  God became flesh and dwelt among us in the person of Jesus.  This Jesus faced the same trials, the same difficulties, the same hardships that we face and yet being God, He at no point succumbed to sin.

Being sinless, He then submitted Himself to death on the cross so that He might pay that which we cannot pay.  That payment being acceptable in the sight of God, Jesus then rose from the tomb demonstrating that He has power - even over death,

We can therefore know that we have life because the resurrection demonstrated that God had accepted the sacrifice of His Son.  We share in this new life, not by adhering to the teachings of some guru or by keeping a list of do’s and don’ts.  Rather we are saved by trusting in Jesus; accepting the full payment for sin that has already been made on our behalf.

This is good news!  This is life changing news!  This is the Gospel!  It is my sincere prayer that you too have accepted these truths and can share in the joy of this season.  If not, please know that hope, forgiveness and new life are possible for you in the person of Jesus Christ because after all, “He has risen!”

 

Why Easter Happened

Pastor Landon Keziah

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.-1 Cor. 15:19

For me, this Easter has been put into perspective by the Palm Sunday bombings that have resulted in the deaths of over 40 believers in Egyptian churches.  As they arrived at their church to perhaps celebrate the Triumphant Entry of Christ, they could not have possibly known that they would be ushered into His presence within the hour.

As Paul writes, if that moment was the end of their story, what a pity.  If the only hope we have is for our life right now-if this is as good as it gets, we are to be pitied.  

But this is not as good as it gets.  For those 40+ believers ,that moment was as bad as it will ever be.  Because of the Resurrection, their faith has been given sight of Jesus Christ.  I believe they heard the words that will be the only words to matter one day for us-well done, good and faithful ones.  

Because Easter happened, we know those believers have overcome by the blood of the Lamb the word of their testimonies because they loved not their lives even unto death (Rev 12:11).  

Because Easter happened, we know we have hope when we stand by a grave a mourn the life of those we loved and are no longer with us.

Because Easter happened, we know this life is not as good as it will get.  

Because Easter happened, we know that Christ gives us a new life, and that He has the power to change our lives.  

Because Easter happened, our future-our life is with Christ, and our past does not define our future.  Christ defines our future.

If Easter had not happened, we would all be pitied, but, praise God, Easter did happen.  

Here are some thoughts to ponder…

1. How willing are we to share our testimonies with others-we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony.  You may want to write your testimony to help you feel more free to share what Christ has done for you.

2.  Is there an area of your life that you need Christ to re chart for you?  Jeremiah

29:11 says He can give us a hope and future.  Are we willing to allow Him to give us direction and change the course of our lives?

3.  Are you willing to accept the incredible grace Christ offers to rescue us from the guilt of your past.  Christ makes ALL things new!  He defines your future if you are in Him.  

4.  Easter did happen!  Now what are you going to do?  Who will you invite to Easter service next week.  Have you accepted the salvation available to you through Christ.

Easter Worship

Pastor Sam Phipps

When the Church gets together for the Easter celebration there will probably be music. It may be an amazing choir “special”, an inspiring solo or an instrumental piece that directs us to the Lord.  In each instance the music seems so “right” for worship, as it should.  Music is such an important part of our lives.  It is powerful. The Bible tells us:

1. Singing prepares us for trials we are going through or yet to come.  

Acts 16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
      Even in suffering, SING!

2. When you sing you are being obedient.  

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
      Singing isn’t an option, it’s a command.

 3. When you sing, you are glorifying God.

Psalm 96:1 Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. 3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! 4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.
      The chief purpose for each of us is to bring God glory.  

So, as many of us will attend an Easter service at a church, sing!  Sing in your trials! Sing as an act of obedience!  Sing and bring Him glory!

New Life

Pastor Geoffrey Janes

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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” - 2 Corinthians 5:17

We recently moved into a new home. Until now we’ve been “cityfied.” Now we live in the country. We moved into our new home at the end of fall, just as the trees were losing their leaves. All the flowers were gone, bushes had gone dormant, the trees were bare, the grass stopped growing. Looking around our new property we had no idea what was alive and what was not. We knew there were lots of trees, but we couldn’t tell if they were dead or alive.

With the turn of the season, we have been able to witness an amazing outburst of life all around us. Green leaves are budding on the trees. Lilies are sprouting up from the ground. Bushes are beginning to produce flowers. Even animals that we didn’t know about have begun to show themselves. It’s truly an amazing sight! Everyday we seem to discover some new growth, some new movement. There is new life springing up all around us.

It is fitting that we celebrate Easter in the spring. It’s the time of year when things are coming to life. Easter is the day that we remember and celebrate the coming to life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. When Christ comes to live in each of us, He causes things to stir, to grow within us that we may not have know we had before. Love becomes more genuine, our joy becomes reality. We see things in a new light, in ways we’ve never experienced before. If anyone is in Christ, he truly is a new creation. The old is gone, and the new has come.

Are you in Christ? Have you allowed Him to transform you into a new creation? This week as we approach Easter Sunday, look around, and be reminded of the new life that is available to you because of the sacrifice that He made for you.