We live in a world plagued by frustration and anxiety. Why? Because we’re trying to be “good enough” for other people, and even for God, but without any real power. Jesus died and rose again to give us an entirely new purpose for living. Learn from the story of a former terrorist named Saul what it really means to live for Jesus.
When I was a kid, I heard the gospel and believed it. I didn’t fully understand it, but I believed it.
I was humbled by the words scribbled on the back of a communication card this past Sunday:
This was my first time to church. I have struggled most of my life and just find myself in the worst situations. Listening to your sermon gave me a lot to think about and I am ready to let Jesus help me find the way.
Was awesome. On Saturday, we hosted a community Easter egg hunt at Grace Hill Elementary School. About 75 volunteers, a third of which were teens, came and hid 5,000 eggs and served a hot grilled lunch to about 350 people. The school was gracious enough to allow us to invite all 500 of their students which allowed us to have some great conversations with people in the community. (Watch the highlight video.)
Easter Sunday is special. In spite of the competition from little furry bunnies who deliver colored eggs and sugar-induced hyperactive episodes among children, it’s still a holiday that is fairly “religious.” That is to say, Jesus still gets a fair amount of attention, possibly because it’s always on Sunday and churches draw such attention to the resurrection. This is good.
Thirteen years ago, I read The Purpose-Driven Church: Growth Without Compromising Your Message & Mission for the first time. The first chapter contains the story of how Rick and Kay Warren packed up their belongings and headed to a community to which God had called them to plant Saddleback Church. They arrived in Orange County with a moving truck and about $1,000 and started a church with seven people at the first Bible study.
You may see this as trite, or you might see it as a really tasty way (pun intended) to share the basic elements of the story of Jesus through imagery familiar to everyone who has ever experienced the awesome goodness of Marshmallow Peeps.
Let me focus in for a moment on Simon Peter, one of the key disciples surrounding Jesus. You may know the story by heart in which Peter asserted that He would never dessert the Lord Jesus, to which Jesus replied, “Before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.” Sure enough, Peter forsook his allegiance to the Lord Jesus and denied Him, even cursing, to distance Himself from the cross.
Easter Sunday is always a highlight. Some of my favorite moments were…