Saturday, April 11, 2015

You Angel You by Bob Dylan

Even Now, Come, Lord Jesus

Night is falling on the old Narnia and the new one, the Narnia we always knew in our hearts existed, the perfection and beauty of which we saw presaged in this imperfect world, this place we loved because we carry Narnia in our hearts.

The new Narnia--what the Bible calls "the new heaven and the new earth"--will come in full and everlasting power to all who have endured in faith, trusting in Jesus. It will come too, sadly, to those who have refused to believe, as Christ will allow them to live in the place without Him they choose by unbelief.

It will come when the resurrected and ascended Jesus returns to the earth and brings His eternal kingdom fully into being. It can't arrive soon enough.

In the meantime, I pray that I will wait faithfully, not with indifference to this old Narnia that is dying, but with passion and love for it as God's humanly-marred gift...

with love for God and love for neighbor...

with a commitment to share the good news that all who turn from sin and surrender in trust to Christ have life with God that never ends...

with a passion to bring God's love and peace and justice to all people.

Thy kingdom, come, Lord. Thy will be done, Lord. Even now, come, Lord Jesus. come. Amen

Friday, April 10, 2015

Be Still

This gift, which is in my office, is a reminder of wonderful people, of many good things, and of Psalm 46:10:
"Be still and know that I am God."

Wanted by Hunter Hayes

Got to see a fantastic concert by my niece's college acapella group tonight. (My niece had a fantastic solo on Lips Are Movin' and sang the featured harmony on I Lived.)

Included in the program was a great cover of this ballad.

"Wanna hold your hand forever
"And never let you forget it
"Yeah, I wanna make you feel wanted"

Worthy aspirations for a man who wants to make his love know how special she is...or a woman who wants to make her love know how special he is.

Lean on Me by Bill Withers (Live)

Thank You for Being a Friend by Andrew Gold

This song by the late Andrew Gold may not be as appreciated as I think it deserves because of its use as a sitcom theme song. But for several years, Gold, who formerly played on a bunch of Linda Ronstadt tracks, had a string of worthy top-40 singles. I appreciated his craftsmanship as a composer and arranger.

This song is one of a whole group of songs about friendship that I love. Apart from salvation itself, friendship is one of God's greatest gifts. And some friendships are life-changing, blessings beyond full expression.

You've Got a Friend by James Taylor (Live)

Something So Right by Paul Simon

Hit play. Close your eyes. Sit back. And imagine it's late at night and you're listening to music while sitting next to a pool or by the ocean. A mellow love song that I love--when I'm by myself--to sing.

It also could be a wonderful Baptismal song. (If you loosen up a bit.)

Go ahead, hit the replay button.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

From President Obama's Easter Message

And, since we're quoting world leaders' Easter statements (see previous post), this paragraph from President Barack Obama's Easter Prayer Breakfast caught my eye:

"With humility and with awe, we give thanks to the extraordinary sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our savior. We reflect on the brutal pain that he suffered, the scorn that he absorbed, the sins that he bore, this extraordinary gift of salvation that he gave to us. And we try, as best we can, to comprehend the darkness that he endured so that we might receive God’s light.”

Read this account of the breakfast.

Extraordinary Easter Statement by the UK's Prime Minister David Cameron

Of course, the United Kingdom's history is different from that of the United States. We uphold the separation of Church and State here and in the UK, the Anglican Church remains the official state religion. Church affiliation with governments holds the potential for the Church's message about Jesus being co-opted and compromised. That's why, as a Christian and an American, I appreciate our system.

Nonetheless, this Easter address by David Cameron is an extraordinary acknowledgment of the positive role that the Church plays in his country (and the world) today. (There are "Christians" who give the Church a bad name, of course. I trust that Christ will sort that all out at the final judgment, when wheat will be separated from the chaff.)

In his brief statement, Cameron also recognizes the large numbers of Christians whose lives are at risk today simply because they believe in Jesus Christ. This phenomenon continues a sad trend that began in the twentieth century when more Christians were martyred for their faith in Christ than in the preceding nineteen centuries combined.

A very Happy Easter to you and your family. My video message on the importance of Christianity in our national life:
Posted by David Cameron on Saturday, April 4, 2015

Ordinary Love by U2 (Live)

Sleep Like a Baby Tonight by U2

I would love to hear this one live, too. (Of course, I'd like to hear all their stuff live.)

"Dreams, It’s a dirty business, dreaming
"Where there is silence and not screaming
"Where there’s no daylight, there’s no healing"

Elevation by U2 (Live)

"Love, lift me up out of these blues
"Won't you tell me something true?
"I believe in you"

Wouldn't it have been fun to have been in this crowd and sung along?

Monday, April 06, 2015

Your Easter Decision

[This was shared during Easter worship yesterday morning with the people and friends of Living Water Lutheran Church in Springboro, Ohio.]

Mark 16:1-8
[Note: This, in some ways, is the weirdest sermon I've ever written. It reflects the wrestling with God's Word that I go through every week in preparing a sermon, especially the week before Easter Sunday. I have no intention here of "putting words in God's mouth," as I believe that everything I ascribe to Him here is rooted in His Word, the Bible, and is reflective of His omnipotence, holiness, and grace.]

To begin this morning, I need to take you inside a certain preacher’s prayer chamber, inside his heart and mind, as he met with God this past week. “Lord, it’s me, Mark. It’s about Easter Sunday.”

God replied, “I see you’re going through the same gyrations you go through every year, asking the same questions: ‘What can I say that’s new and fresh and different?’ Haven’t you learned by now that you don’t need to say anything new or fresh or different? It’s Easter. You and the people who will be offering their worship to Me will be there to celebrate the greatest event in history, not to hear some snappy presentation.

"My Son, Who was killed by your sins and the sins of the whole world, rose from the dead. He did it so that, when you surrender your life to Him, you won’t have to pay the price for your sins. When you die believing in Him, it’s not the end of your living. You will be raised to live with Me just like Jesus was on Easter.

"You do understand, don’t you, Mark, that that’s the only message you need on Easter Sunday?”

“Yes, Lord,” I answered. “I do understand..sort of...but…”

“Ah,” God said. “It’s My word about Easter from the Gospel of Mark.”

“Yes, that’s it,” I answered.

“And,” the Lord went on, “you think that the eight verses that, under My inspiration, Mark the gospel writer uses to tell the world about what happened when the women went to the tomb is too sparse, too abrupt.”

“Well, Lord,” I explained, “it does end sort of...sort of...anticlimactically. With silence instead of a victory shout. Verse 8 says: ‘Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.’ The incident at the tomb ends without the women telling anyone yet about what the ‘young man,’ the angel, said. And, by this point, they haven’t even seen the risen Jesus yet.”

“As you’ll recall,” God reminded me, “the angel had just said that Jesus had gone ahead of the disciples back to Galilee. This is exactly what Jesus had promised in Mark 14:28: ‘...after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.’ So, the women couldn’t have seen Jesus at the tomb. He wasn’t at the tomb. He had no need to hang around in a graveyard after He had been raised from the dead. He had things to do. And that, by the way, should have been a clue to the women that what the angel said about Jesus being alive was true: Dead men don’t run. So Jesus, once dead, must now be alive!”

“That’s true, Lord,” I said. (God quickly reminded me that everything He says is true.) “But,” I said, “with that clue, why didn’t the women immediately proclaim Jesus’ resurrection? Why did they say nothing?”

“Mark,” He told me. “look at the Gospel lesson again. In the original Greek. What does verse 8 say?”

“Greek,” I groaned.

God responded immediately: “Are you interested in understanding what you’re asking about or are you only asking as an excuse to whine that the sermon isn’t simply magically appearing on your computer screen?”

Truth to tell, rather than rummaging through the Greek, I would have preferred the magical appearance method. But I’m learning not to argue with God.

So, verse 8, literally translated, says: “And outcoming swiftly they fled from the memorial vault for yet they had trembling and amazement…”

When I read it out loud a few days ago, I stopped.

“Hmm,” I said, “I never noticed that before.”

“What hadn’t you noticed before, Mark?”

“The word I translated as amazement and that my Bible translates as bewildered could even more literally be rendered standing outside themselves. The word in the original Greek is ekstatic. That means that they were so overwhelmed by the empty tomb, the angel, and the angel’s message that they were standing outside themselves, thrown off their stride. They didn’t understand.

"But on top of that, it could also mean that they were in awe. They were ecstatic and on the cusp of believing because they’d remembered Jesus saying that He would be crucified and raised, but…” I paused.

“But what, Mark?” I sensed the Lord pushing me, like a patient teacher to a thick-headed but earnest student.

But it seemed too good to be true to the women,” I answered.

“The scales may be starting to fall from your eyes after all,” My Teacher seemed to say.

I went on, caught up with enthusiasm: “They were trying to take it all in and they had come in contact with one of Your messengers, luminescent with Your holiness and Your splendor. And…”

“And what?”

And they had to decide whether they believed or not.

"Did they believe that the One they had seen crucified was risen or not?

"Did they believe that through Jesus, the power of sin and death over our eternal lives was erased?

"They must have rifled through their memories and remembered all of the times that Jesus had healed diseases, cast out demons, and raised from the dead, exercising power for others and never for Himself, power that only God possesses.

"They must have remembered all the times He had promised--in promises that seemed so strange to them at the time He made them--that He would be raised from death by God the Father after having suffered the rejection of the world.

"That He would raise from death anyone who turned from sin and believed in Him, giving them a share in the eternal kingdom of God.

"That He would stand by them in this world and hear their prayers and answer them even when He seemed far away.

"That He would claim all His own who believed and were baptized in the the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

"That He would come to His disciples, body and blood, bringing forgiveness of sin and fellowship with God and all the saints of every time and place, in, with, and under the bread and wine through the blessed sacrament of Holy Communion.

"As they ran from the tomb, the women’s ecstasy must have transformed from bewilderment to awe-filled joy!

"Jesus, dead on Good Friday, was now risen and alive and on the march on Easter Sunday.

"By the power of the Holy Spirit, Who makes it possible for we battle-hardened, cynical sinners to fall at the feet of our Savior Jesus and cry out like the disciple Thomas would do one week later, 'My Lord, my God,' the women had gained the ability to believe in and surrender to and tell the world that Jesus is risen.

“So, why, Lord” I asked, “does the gospel of Mark leave things like this at the tomb...with the women fearful and in awe and processing what they’ve heard and trying to decide?”

“Because, Mark,” God replied patiently, “that’s where most of the people of the world are right now.

"Most Christians believe, but can’t decide whether to share what they believe with others. They’re afraid.

"And the rest of the world has heard something of Easter, but hasn’t decided whether to believe--to trust--or not.

"Your job and the job of every Christian is to keep telling others about Jesus--by your words and by your actions--so that they can follow the Jesus they can’t yet see into My bright eternity, where they will see Him always and ever...where sin and death will be distant memories, where all hurts will be forever healed, where love and power will envelop the saints, where every tear will be dried, and where you will live with joy and certainty and purpose forever and ever.

"Everything depended on the women telling others. And they did. If they hadn’t, you might not be celebrating Easter this year...or any year.”

What decision will you and I make?

Will we follow and share Jesus, like Mary Magdalene, Mary the Mother of James, and Salome?

Or will we remain silent?

Will we be frightened of telling others the story of the risen Savior that some will find too good to be true, but which we know is God’s truth for our good?

Will we let the world literally go to hell, even though the message of Easter we might share can spare others an eternity of agonizing regret if we would only must the love and compassion to open our mouths?

Make this the best Easter you’ve ever had. Make every day a celebration of Easter. Say yes to the message of Jesus’ resurrection. Follow Jesus and share Jesus. Follow Jesus and share Jesus.  Then keep following and sharing Jesus.

God wants everyone in His eternal kingdom. And He’s depending on us, just like He depended on the women at the tomb, to make His message known. Say yes to God and have a blessed Easter...a blessed life...and a blessed eternity. Amen

Matthew 2:12, 13, 19-20, 22 (A 5 by 5 by 5 Reflection)

This morning for my time with God, using the Navigators' 5 by 5 by 5 Reading Plan, I've read Matthew 2.

In this chapter, Matthew provides us with the infancy account of Jesus, how, several years after the birth of Jesus, the "wise men" came to worship the new King and how the holy family--Jesus, Mary, and Joseph--fled to Egypt for fear of King Herod and then settled in Galilee following the tyrant's death.

Joseph, like his Old Testament namesake, several times hears from God in dreams.

In this chapter, dreams play an important part in five verses.

First, a dream from God plays a part in the story of the wise men, who had initially told Herod about their quest to follow a star, which they saw as an announcement of the birth of the King promised in Old Testament, thinking that Herod would be as overjoyed by the birth as they apparently were. (He wasn't.) After seeing the child and presenting him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, verse 12 says:
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
We don't know how many wise men traveled in this party. (Or how many servants came with them.) Traditionally, we've said that there were three, but that's only because of the three gifts they left for the baby King at the house in which He and His family were then living in Bethlehem.

But verse 12 makes me wish that Matthew had told us how many wise men there were and if only one of them had the dream or if more than one did. Of course, it's ultimately not important. But I wonder, were they all convinced by the dream of one person or, at breakfast the day after seeing Jesus, did several of them compare notes, then call a meeting of the entire group, and decide that multiple dreams were too much of a coincidence?

We'll never know this side of heaven, of course. But the decision to flee Herod is interesting in that the earlier part of chapter 2 seems to show the wise men to be blind to how Herod's murderous jealousy was aroused by their quest to find the new King. In fact, Herod seems to see the wise men's naiveté and credulity in his instructions to the wise men, telling them duplicitously: "Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage" (verse 8).

The dream mentioned in verse 12 changed the wise men's minds about Herod.

Joseph often relied on dreams to get direction from God. And we see that exemplified several times in Matthew 2:
Now after they [the wise men] had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." (verse 13) 
When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child's life are dead." (verses 19-20) 
"But when he [Joseph] heard that Archelaus [an heir of Herod, who was at least as murderous as his father had been] was ruling over Judea [where Bethlehem is located] of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. (verse 22)
I believe God uses all sorts of methods to communicate with us. And though it's only happened to me, and not to warn me, but to reassure me, I believe that God can and does still communicate with believers today through dreams.

I think that those who are gifted in the area of dreams--like the Joseph in the Old Testament and the Joseph of Matthew 2--hear from God through dreams more frequently than happens with other believers who don't possess this gift.

That's the way spiritual gifts work. Romans 12:1-2, for example, identifies giving as a spiritual gift. This doesn't mean that other believers are exempted from giving; it means that those with this gift are to do so with greater generosity and are able to do so with greater facility. Just the same, some believers may be gifted with a dream once in their lifetimes, while others, as part of their spiritual gifts, receive dreams from God all the time. Joseph was a dreamer.

The wise men weren't even believers, though one can surmise that at least some of them became believers after their trip to Bethlehem. They were superstitious astrologers and God somehow used their superstitions to lead them to His Son. But, in this chapter thick with dreams from God, the wise men too, are warned by God in a dream.

A few observations about the dreams of Matthew 2:
First, all of the dreams in this chapter are designed to protect the child. The child, Jesus, has a particular role to play in salvation history. But God in the flesh needed protection until He was able, on God's time to fulfill that role. 
Second, the dreams come unbidden, so far as we know. Neither the wise men nor Joseph ask God for dreams. In fact, except for the dream in verse 22, the dreams come to the wise men and Joseph when they themselves seem not to have expected that danger was looming. They had no idea that they needed to receive the warnings that come to them in these dreams. 
So, I wondered, what about us, when can we know that a dream is from God and not just something we ate the night before? A few thoughts, not to be taken as definitive truth from God, but only observations based on Scripture. (As always, I could be wrong.)

  • First, a dream from God will never tell you to destroy, only to protect or preserve and so, pursue God's plans in history. The dreams received by Joseph and the wise men were designed to protect the child.
  • Second, a dream from God will always conform to the revealed purposes of God, as seen in His Word, the Bible. This is of central importance. When the wise men set off from the East--possibly Persia--to follow the star, they did so with some awareness of the Old Testament prophecy of a King who would set the world right. Joseph, as a pious Jew, knew these prophecies well. So, when the dreams came to these men, they knew that their directives were designed to make the revealed will of God come to being through this baby King. He must be preserved until the time came for Him to do His ministry.
  • Third, dreams from God come unbidden. God is sovereign. If God sends you a dream, it almost certainly won't be because you wanted it. The dreams in Matthew 2 roused the men to action in order to further the purposes of God, not the desires of the dreamers.
  • Fourth, when dreams from God call believers to action, it will likely bring them inconvenience or danger or ever worse. Dreams from God will often, it seems, tell us to do things we hadn't even thought of doing or wouldn't, if we were asked in advance, want to do. There's no self-aggrandizing in dreams from God. The wise men were forced to go back to their homes by a less direct route in order to avoid telling Herod where they had found the child. That was inconvenient. Joseph had to pull up stakes and go to places he'd had no intention of going, all to protect a child that was genetically, neither his nor Mary's. 

Just a few thoughts. Thank You, God, for Your Word. Amen

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Easter: Did It Really Happen? (2014 Easter Message)

[This is last year's Easter message. This year's will be posted later today.]

Matthew 28:1-10
On this Easter Sunday morning, as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, I want to consider two simple questions:
  • Did Jesus really rise from the dead on the first Easter? 
  • And what difference does it make to us if He did?
We live in a skeptical age. The so-called “New Atheists,” people who not only adamantly reject the existence of God, but also reject all truth claims made by the Bible, are given great prominence these days.

Even within the Church, there are theologians who claim that Jesus was not physically raised from the dead, that what the first disciples called “the resurrection” was only their subjective experience of the dead Savior’s presence in their memories. Or, they say that the early disciples experienced a mass hallucination even though psychology tells us that such a phenomenon is impossible.

And truth be known, even the most pious and convinced of believers have their moments of doubt.

But let’s be clear: If Jesus didn’t actually physically rise from the dead, we may as well pack up, go home, and eat our Easter dinners right now.

And if we're part of the church just to feel good or to help us through this life, we've got it all wrong.

In the first century, the apostle Paul wrote this to church members in the Greek city of Corinth: “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.”

Through the centuries and still today, some read or hear the words of Paul or those of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection and dismiss it all.

A then-fifth grader in my former congregation told me once that a classmate of his, no doubt echoing words he’d heard at home, didn’t believe in God or in Jesus. The kid said that Christianity was all a big conspiracy.

So, what do we say to such assertions? Is Easter and the faith that is built on it all a big conspiracy? Or is it the truth?

Let’s consider the evidence. Please look at our Gospel lesson for today, Matthew 28:1-10. (You’ll find it on page 698 in the sanctuary Bibles.)

Anyone who takes the time to lay out the four Gospels’ different accounts of the first Easter side by side will see differences: different women are named among those who went to the tomb; Matthew says that the women simply went to see the tomb, while other gospels say they went to anoint Jesus’ body; and there are other differences. But these differences shouldn’t bother us. They should, in fact, help convince us that the report of Jesus’ resurrection was no conspiracy, but the truth. As one New Testament scholar has said, “a calculated deception should have [caused the conspirators to agree on the details of the resurrection story]. Instead, there seem to have been competitors: 'I saw him first!' 'No! I did.'” That makes their common story that Jesus rose from the dead more likely to be true!

Now look at Matthew 28, verse 1, please. It says: “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.”

The Jewish sabbath, of course, runs from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. As our lesson begins, the sun is rising.

The women went to the tomb with no expectations of finding any good news. They had watched Jesus die. Like billions of people who have lost good friends or loved ones, they went to the cemetery only to pay their respects, to grieve and, maybe, to remember together. Jesus’ promise that He would rise again, if they thought of it at all, would have seemed like a fairy tale memory to them.

The fact that the women who went to the tomb didn’t expect to see evidence of Jesus’ resurrection ought to make us give credibility to their later saying that Jesus, once dead, was alive again.

Now look at verses 2 through 7. It says:
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."
Notice to whom this news—the greatest news in the history of the world—is being given: women. In patriarchal, male-dominated first century Judea, the testimony of women wasn’t considered valid. A woman couldn't testify in court, because women were deemed by that society to be unreliable.

If the first Christians had made up the story of Jesus’ resurrection—if Easter was one big conspiracy, they certainly would have been shrewd enough to say that men were the first to meet the angel at the empty tomb and not women whose word would be automatically dismissed by that society.

It was poor marketing in the first century world for Christians have to admit that, in fact, women were the first to see Jesus risen from the dead. This too, is a powerful proof that there was no Easter conspiracy.

Please see what happens next in Matthew 28:8-10:
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.  Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."
None of Jesus’ first followers ever claimed to have seen the precise moment when the corpse of Jesus came back to life. Instead, they all said that they were shown an empty tomb and like us, were asked to dare to trust that the Savior Who had never once lied to them was good for a promise He had made, that He would rise again.

It was only after the women at the empty tomb chose to be open to believing and chose to act on the angel’s message that they saw the risen Jesus.

When it comes to faith in God, you and I cannot fold our arms and demand that God prove Himself to us.

Nor will God ever force us to trust in Him.

We must be willing to believe. It’s then and only then that we will begin to believe. It’s only then that God’s Holy Spirit can build faith within us.

In faith, seeing is not believing; believing is seeing!

So, did it really happen? Did Jesus really rise from the dead on the first Easter Sunday? The evidence, I think, indicates that He did.

But, even if we find the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection convincing, the resurrection will still be nothing more than a bit of trivia or a blip on our calendars unless we, like the women met by the angel at the empty tomb, dare to believe—to trust our whole lives to Christ—and dare to act on that belief.

And listen: As a former atheist myself, I can tell you that God will give you faith in the risen Jesus if only, like the women at the empty tomb, you are willing to believe.

In his book, The Power of a Whisper, Pastor Bill Hybels tells of being with a group of pastors and asking them how they had come to faith in the risen Jesus. One pastor said that he grew up in an non-churchgoing home, his parents deeply hostile to Christ and the Church.

Next door was a couple who believed in Jesus, were active in a local congregation, and sensed that God wanted them to invite their neighbors to church.

So, one day, they came to that young boy’s home and invited his family to worship with them. The parents were venomous in their response to the invitation, “We want nothing to do with your God…[or] your church…[or] you.”

But their son said, “Hey, Dad. I’ll go.” The parents thought to themselves, “Free babysitting!” So, they let junior go to church.

All through that boy’s junior high years, the neighbors took him to church Sunday in, Sunday out. While in high school, he surrendered his life to Christ.

Later, he became a pastor and started a church on the East Coast, which today welcomes thousands of worshipers each week, changing lives and bringing the peace of the risen Jesus Christ in facing and living in this world this world and the hope of eternity with God beyond the grave through the risen Jesus.

Jesus Christ is risen from the dead! It really happened and He can change the lives and eternities of all who repent, that is, turn from sin, and believe in Him.

If you’ve come here this morning, not really certain about what you thought of Jesus and His resurrection, and you find yourself wanting Him in your life, I promise you that He wants the same thing. He wants life with you.

If you’re willing to let Him in, He can be right there with you in all the times of your life--the good and joyous, the hard and sad, and every place in between. He can give your life meaning and purpose.

And, when, like Jesus Himself, you cross the threshold of death, He will be holding you and He will raise you to life again to be with God for eternity. If you want Jesus today, just tell Him.

If you’d like a little help in either getting started in a life with Jesus or in renewing that life, you’ll see people with blue lapel badges around today. They will be happy to pray with you, share a bit with you. They’ll also ask you if you’d like a call from me this week. If you’re not a Living Water member or you don’t live in this area, please know that I won’t be phoning you to try to get you to join this church, though people are certainly welcome to take instruction and check us out. Instead, we simply want you to experience the power and blessings of the risen Jesus every day of your life, the way we do day in and day out. We want you to have eternal life with God. It happens through Jesus, the One Who rose on the first Easter.

To paraphrase the angel at the tomb, “This my message for you,” the message of new life through the risen One, Jesus. It’s God’s message for you and all the world. It can change a life for eternity. Let it change yours. Amen!

Thine Be the Glory (King's College Choir)

Jesus Christ is Risen Today (King's College Choir)