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Archive for April 20th, 2019

Easter People Spread the News

John 20:1-18

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes. But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; she told them that he had said these things to her. [nrsv]

Here the Good News of the Resurrection!

  • The Tomb was empty
  • Jesus Has Risen
  • We have no need to weep or fear
  • Tell the others the Good News

Since the first Easter, What has the resurrected Jesus been doing?

For 2000 years we have been waiting for his return while we have been wondering in the wilderness waiting for the arrival. 

  • As the world is divided our hearts are united in God’s love
  • As the world fights over politics we are given ourselves to service
  • As the world longs for wealth, entertainment, we have remained focused on Jesus
  • As the world changes with the winds of emotion and distraction, we continue to find our strength and guidance in the Holy Spirit.
    • We are supposed to learn from the faith journey of Israel in the wilderness.
    • We are supposed to be inspiring the faith for the generations to follow.
    • We are supposed to be trusting God to lead, provide and direct our way.
    • Why does it take so long?

Easter becomes our immigration into the People of God.

As citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven we are called and live as witnesses to the strength, hope and love of God…

  • We are called to praise Jesus
  • We are called to follow the Spirit
  • We are called to serve the world as Jesus
  • We are called to be faithful to God’s word spoken in our hearts and through our lives

Let this Easter be the time that we empty our bodies, minds, and spirits from what leads to death and destruction and can now:

  • breathe in the breath of the Holy Spirit
  • taste the bread of life daily
  • smell the fragrance of hope
  • hear the word of the Lord
  • and touch the heart of God as we touch the lives of those who are filled with empty fullness.

What’s the Big Deal about Easter?

It is the gift of God that is the greatest of them all and it is given to us all

Jesus Christ who died for our sins, has overcome death for himself and for us

There is nothing that has to separate us from the love and life of God..

While God does not ever stop loving us, 

We are those who place others things, people, values, hopes, dreams, faith, belongings, etc in the place of God’s resurrection gift.

If God has given us life to live for him, why spend it on ourselves?

What’s the big deal about Easter? 

  • It is confirmation that you and I are spiritual beings in physical bodies.
  • We are created in the image of God, by the heart of God, for God’s worship and pleasure.

What the big deal about Easter?

It is the assurance that the sin and fear and shame that we carry does not need to be our life’s work

Jesus gives his life that ours may be the fruit of the new heaven and the new earth

What’s the big deal about Easter?

It draws us together in the aftermath of the fire at Notre Dome in Paris and while we see the loss, we know the church is not the building, the church is the people of Jesus Christ at work in the world, revealing the Spiritual Power of God at work

Our celebration of Easter

  • has little to do with what it hidden in the yard and more of what is revealed in our worship
  • has little to do with what is empty in the our history and past, and more of what God is unfolding in our present and future
  • has little to do with being dressed us and dinners and more about clothing the naked and feeding the hungry
  • has little to do with holidays and more about allowing God to make holy our days and nights

We gather today not, with a moment to tell the good news of the old story of the Resurrection,

  • But more so we are gathered to give our thanks and praise for God’s promise being lived out through us.
  • But more so we are gathered to give ourselves to God in witness by sharing with the world what we have been holding onto ourselves.

The Christian church, Catholic and Protestant, Methodist and Baptist, Nondenominational and all the rest, have fewer members and believers in a declining roll for over 60 years (Yes there are churches and movements that are individually growing but as a whole body of believers we are not faithful to living out an Easter Faith to the world.

For nearly 2000 years the world has heard the story but where is the fruit of trusting the Resurrection?

Let this Easter be a claim and proclaiming of our faith Jesus and the resurrection..

We have been saved for a purpose, to be living witnesses of God.

  • In all our effort to cover our responsibilities
  • in our quest to get the most out of our numbered days
  • In our longing for meaning and searching to understand

Have we not fought the Holy Spirit more than followed?

Have not not remembered Jesus, but not spoken out for him?

Have not learned the Words but not allow God’s Word to speak through our actions?

Easter is the morning wake up call from the foggy illusion of our sin and creation.

  • God breaks open 
  • God sets us free
  • God finds the way
  • And comes to meet.. Go and tell all the others to meet us
    •   in Jersualem,
    •   in the place of worship
    •   in the dwelling of God,
    •   in the power of the Holy Spirit

So what what looks different in our lives by living as Easter People?

Easter people hear people afraid at the news about death and remember to share the eternal promise in Jesus Christ

  • Easter people hear the division in politics and model what it means to place our faith in God instead
  • Easter people hear the words of hurt and we call for works of healing
  • Easter people model service in a culture of being served
  • Easter people gather to worship when the world says you are foolish and out dated
  • Easter people look at the future and know that God who creates will make all things new
  • Easter people look at what we don’t have and know what to ask God to provide
  • Easter people sing with grunts and praise to remember and share what God has, is and will do.
  • Easter people live every Sunday as promise of the Resurrection
  • Easter people follow the Holy Spirit as spiritual beings in Christ
  • Easter people are not perfect, but are made whole through Jesus Christ

This why Easter is our biggest gift, our best deal and when we life for Christ today. Go live as people of the resurrection, alive in Christ for all the world around us!

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Easter Sunrise 2019 Isaiah 65 Our New Day in Christ

Isaiah 65:17-25

For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed. They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord— and their descendants as well. Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent—its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the Lord. [nrsv]

  • Jerusalem as a Joy?
  • People will be a delight?
  • No more weeping and no more distress?
  • No more infant deaths or those whose life is cut short?
  • Those who work will receive the benefits of their own labor?
  • No injustice in wealth and home for all?
  • No labor in vain, (note not a absence of work)
  • Wolf and the lamb will feed together but not on each other
  • Lion and the ox will eat straw
  • Serpent will eat the dust… \
  • Though without war

God is building a new heaven and a new earth.. will we recognize it when we get there? 

As we gather early on Easter’s sunrise we remember God is creator

  • In the Big Inning, God makes all things
  • In Christ, Changes the whole world,
  • By the Holy Spirit, God is guiding us toward the New Jerusalem, that we might lead the world to God, through Christ.

In the New Jerusalem, there is not hurt, pain, suffering or injustice, but even the serpent has a place

evil, pride/selfishness, greed, gluttony, sloth, lust, wrath, and envy are no longer needed.

Think of the power of these forces in our world and in our lives

What would it take to no longer behave these ways?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

There is not other power, no other answer, no other hope, no other way.

There are various camps;

  • Those who no longer care
  • Those who want to prove there is another way
  • Those who know Jesus is the way, but trust later
  • Those who are free in Christ now and forever. 

The prophetic words of the prophet Isaiah 

[The whole chapter]

1 I was ready to be sought out by those who did not ask, to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, “Here I am, here I am,” to a nation that did not call on my name. 2 I held out my hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices; 3 a people who provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens and offering incense on bricks; 4 who sit inside tombs, and spend the night in secret places; who eat swine’s flesh, with broth of abominable things in their vessels; 5 who say, “Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.” These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all day long. 6 See, it is written before me: I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will indeed repay into their laps 7 their iniquities and their ancestors’ iniquities together, says the Lord; because they offered incense on the mountains and reviled me on the hills, I will measure into their laps full payment for their actions. 8 Thus says the Lord: As the wine is found in the cluster, and they say, “Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it,” so I will do for my servants’ sake, and not destroy them all.9 I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah inheritors of my mountains; my chosen shall inherit it, and my servants shall settle there. 10 Sharon shall become a pasture for flocks, and the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down, for my people who have sought me. 11 But you who forsake the Lord, who forget my holy mountain, who set a table for Fortune and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny;12 I will destine you to the sword, and all of you shall bow down to the slaughter; because, when I called, you did not answer, when I spoke, you did not listen, but you did what was evil in my sight, and chose what I did not delight in. 13Therefore thus says the Lord God: My servants shall eat, but you shall be hungry; my servants shall drink, but you shall be thirsty; my servants shall rejoice, but you shall be put to shame; 14my servants shall sing for gladness of heart, but you shall cry out for pain of heart, and shall wail for anguish of spirit. 15 You shall leave your name to my chosen to use as a curse, and the Lord God will put you to death, but to his servants, he will give a different name. 16 Then whoever invokes a blessing in the land shall bless by the God of faithfulness, and whoever takes an oath in the land shall swear by the God of faithfulness; because the former troubles are forgotten and are hidden from my sight. 17 For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. 19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress.20 No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed. 21 They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. 23 They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord— and their descendants as well. 24 Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear. 25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent—its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the Lord.

Why read from Isaiah at the Sunrise?

When the day is new we can better see the darkness of our past and hope of our future in the Word of God made new and whole through Jesus Christ, for us

  • May we invoke the blessing of this day
  • May we call on Jesus Christ to make this day new
  • May we trust Christ to overcome our sin and shame
  • May we speak God’s name and not our own
  • May the former things are forgotten
  • And the New Day in Christ is eternally on our lips and in our deeds.

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