America is rapidly sliding into secularism. Many in the American evangelical church are worried, scared or confused. Others still have no idea as to the severity of the storm that is already making landfall. I am thankful to call Pastor/Professor Pietro Ciavarella my friend and brother in Christ. Pietro pastors in Firenza (Florence), Italy, birthplace of the Renaissanc...Keep Reading
Today, Easter Sunday, we celebrated the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. 'He is Risen!' is the most incredible and important declaration in human history. Jesus' resurrection changes everything. Because He rose from the grave, all of the claims He made are true and He is worthy of our absolute love and devotion and obedience.
Because Jesus rose from the grave, the idea of our faith being a 'Christmas and Easter' only faith is nonsensical as is the idea of being a 'Sunday only' Christian. If we belong to Him, we belong to Him every hour of every day and we give Him our best-not our leftovers.
Because He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and because He is the Head of the Church, died for the Church, loves His Church, we do as well. It is in the context of the church, in community, where we learn and grow together, help each other become more like Christ, encourage each other and challenge each other to grow. We learn to love one another, to be patient with one another, to forgive one another, to persevere with one another. We build each other up. We are on mission together. That is Christ's intent for His people and His Church.
While it is true that we can worship Christ anywhere, it is equally true that we are saved into community and there are certain things that can only happen in terrms of our growth, in a corporate context. Much of the growth He desires for us cannot take place in any other context than in the community of believers, the Church.
Today we celebrated the resurrection, as we should, as is fitting! May we never grow dull and complacent as we consider the incredible reality: Jesus Christ, God the Son, took on flesh, dwelt among us, willingly laid down His life as a ransom for many, was crucified, paid the penalty for our sins, died, was buried and three days later rose from the grave!
But, even as we celebrate today, we must remember something very important: now the real work begins. When we look at the Gospels, after Jesus has shown Himself as the Risen Savior to His disciples, He does something very important: He commissions them (as He has us) to make disciples of all people. We are not to keep this incredible news of the Risen Savior to ourselves! Too much is at stake. Everything is at stake.
So, as a church as we look to the next few months, we ask the Lord to grant us the grace, wisdom and strength needed to pesevere, to lean into the things He has for us, to press forward to the calling He has for us individually and as a congregation. As we saw today in our sanctuary, a sanctuary that was for all practical purposes in overflow condition, we cannot reach more people if we do not move to a second service and Bible study. We have already begun taking first steps toward that. We are in process.
For the sake of the King and His Kingdom, let us stay in prayer, stay focused and move forward in faith! The Love of the Risen King compels us!
Grace and Peace,