It’s Easter and that is the title of one of my all-time favorite Christian songs about it,by Sandy Patti.Even though there is a specific day each year that it is officially recognized,it is a series of events that are the main foundation of New Testament Christianity,that were prophesied about for hundreds of years before they took place.And rest assured,that those events are not just spoken of by evangelical Christians that find significance and security in what is known as Easter,at this time of the year.It is preached and taught in church Sunday school classrooms and sanctuaries,spoken about on radio,and television,and the internet and read about by millions in the scriptures and countless other books that have been authored since,seven days a week,365 days a year.
Scientists and skeptics have spared no effort over the years,in trying to disprove either the existence or the deity of,and certainly the resurrection from the dead of our Savior Jesus Christ,but every time they think they find something that disproves anything Biblical,something more evident is found to proves them wrong.
But more than any archaeological find, the solid proof of everything about what Jesus Christ was,and is,can be found in the daily lives of His followers.It’s in the testimony they have to share of how they came to faith in Christ,or how He is continuing to change their lives today.It’s in in the way they treat others,or in the attitudes they have about the daily ups and downs of life.It’s in their excitement about sharing all of this and the unwavering security they have as a result.It’s in their smile.
Now I will not deny that you may sometimes encounter individuals here and there,who name the name of Jesus Christ,who are in one or more ways an instant turn-off in any of these areas.,and seem to be the opposite of what their faith should demonstrate.Some name the name of Christ but refuse to attend a church,giving instead a hail of excuses.I just heard one this week,that churches care only about money and building their own church congregation numbers,or adding to their elaborate buildings.Yet some of those folks are sports fans like me and they watch their favorite teams spend millions of our taxpayer dollars on player and staff salaries,and elaborate stadiums,and yet every person that enters must pay ten or twenty dollars or more to park,the cheapest tickets in some stadiums are twenty-five dollars,and then there are concessions,or souvenirs,or both.And they will gladly hand over the money to often even still go and sit in an outdoor environment in the freezing cold,the snow,the rain,the heat.But they will accuse churches of only being about money,because the congregation,who are not charged to park,or walk in the door,or only asked to bring a contribution of a side dish to a dinner,willingly give tithes and offerings because their faith shows them that Jesus Christ gave everything for them,and they need no coercing to want to insure the continued operation of the facility,so they and others can continue to come and worship and fellowship and be the beneficiary of various ministry programs,in climate controlled comfort.
Those same people think that they can play “Lone Ranger Christian” without so much as a Tonto,and don’t need the church community,and yet they can’t wait to get out to the stadium,and hang out and tailgate and drink and freeze their limbs off,or fry in the sun with their sports buddies.They crave it,they need it.And they don’t even realize that they have a need for community because God created it in us,when we were created in His image.Now,I am not condemning attending sports,or wanting to be with others that do,as I am a KC Royals Baseball and KC Chiefs Football,and Nascar fan.I write Sports Blogs on more than one site.I used to host a Sports radio show,I’ve played fantasy sports.I collect sports items and decorate my rec-room and my car,and often myself in those themes.I have a 13-game 2-seat package to the KC Royals this year-all on Sundays-but not until after church.I like being with others that are big fans too,and that also like talking sports or doing all the things I mentioned when we are not at the games.But I hope you understand the parallel here.
Others name the name and then don’t think they don’t need to read their Bible or spend daily time in prayer.But yet,most would not even conceive going through a day without communicating with their loved ones.Parents,siblings,spouses,children,grand-children.But they think they can ignore their Heavenly Father and can get by on their own each day.
Some name the name of Christ but have no story of conversion to Faith to share.I hate to burst the bubble of some folks,but just like me,you were born a sinner,thanks to the Garden of Eden,and whether you realize it or admit it or not,in your very nature were a hostile enemy of God.You were born a physical creation of God,but His child,in the spiritual sense had to come as a result of hearing the gospel and choosing to come to him in a humble prayer of repentance,receiving forgiveness and asking him to be your Lord and Savior and Heavenly Father.The Bible says in Romans 10:17 that Faith comes by hearing,and hearing by the word of God.And,when you ask these folks the all-important question,”So,if you died tonight,you know for sure that you are going to heaven?”,they will respond “I hope so!” You Hope so???? The Bible say tells us that everything is written so that we may KNOW that we have eternal life.John 3;16 says”For God so loved the world,that He gave His only begotten Son,that whosoever believes in him will not perish,but has eternal life.” This is not a maybe,or an “I hope so!” Notice also that it says He gave his only begotten Son.Not a Prophet.Not a good man.His Son!
Others think that they will reach Heaven simply based on works,We often hear “Well,I’m a pretty good person,I don’t lie and cheat and steal,and smoke and cuss,and….and…..” But,once again,the fact that we were all born sinners means we were already guilty of all these things and more.Not in the physical sense maybe,but in our spiritual nature.Ephesians 2:8,9 says “For by grace you have been saved through faith,and that not of yourselves,it is the gift of God,not of works,lest any man should boast.” None of us could ever be good enough to earn our way to heaven,but God in His grace provided Jesus Christ and his life,death,burial and resurrection so we don’t have to.It’s a free gift,according to Romans 6:23,but we have to ask for it! I know for some that is hard to accept that God could love them,despite all the wrong they had done and not make them earn their ticket to Heaven as a result,but I didn’t deserve it any more than the next person,but Jesus died and took my place on the cross. And,since he rose again,and now sits at the the right hand of the Father,as our intercessor,every time our accuser,Satan points out what I did wrong today,or what you did,if you’ve accepted Him,our heavenly Attorney looks at the Judge,His Father and shows his nail-pierced hand and feet and spear pierced side (the same ones that Thomas said he would not believe in the resurrection of Christ until he saw in person),and says “Your Honor,here is the undisputed,undeniable.concrete evidence that their debt is paid in full.” Case Dismissed! is the ruling and Satan’s claims are rendered useless!
But,whether the issue is any of these,or is in how someone treats others,I hope you can see from all of this,that just naming the name of Christ does not mean you are a believer,or are Born Again,as John chapter three says we must be,to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.Sitting in a garage does not make you a car.Only going to church (as the late Keith Green once shared) doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to Mcdonald’s makes you a hamburger.As I wrote the rough draft by hand for this blog,I was sitting outside the fitting rooms of a local Gordman’s department store,while my daughter tried on new potential Easter outfits.But sitting in Gordman’s didn’t make me a shirt,or a pair of pants or shoes,or even the Royals decor I was buying for my car. And,you are not responsible for anyone else’s actions.When you die,only you will be responsible for whether you accepted Jesus Christ,and if you then multiplied what was done for you by someone else that helped you reach that point,for someone else.
A Savior, a betrayal by a friend,a false arrest and bogus trial, a purple robe,a crown of thorns,a near death beating,and finally a walk down a road of pain,with the one of the instruments of death upon his back-a wooden cross,three nails and spear,and later an empty tomb.Eternal life to all who will hear and ask in faith.Those are the elements of Easter.And,our church,Glenwood Baptist,like so many others that share this message all year long,as well as at this special time,started celebrating last week,with a Love Feast (a dinner) and observance of the Lord’s Supper,in which we follow the example of Jesus eating the Passover known as The Last Supper with is Disciples before His death on the Cross of Calvary,that he said we should do until He returns.And today,we held our annual Easter Egg-Stravaganza at local Crestview Elementary School,where lots of families in Glenwood’s surrounding community turned out for free egg hunts,music,inflatable play areas,face painting and tattoo stickers,hot dogs,chips,cookies,and water or sodas,and also received information about our church.
I interviewed several visitors and asked what they liked best about the event,including Anita,an amazing lady in her 50’s that is now sacrificing herself to raise her three young grand-children after the tragic loss of her daughter in March,2010 or husband and wife Jeff and Rebecca.Jeff is the son of Crestview Elementary’s Facility Manager Tim Dooley,and both said they thought it was great that all the kids were having such a great time and of course,Tim was happy to have his grand-children there as well.Someone else said they liked that it was such a family friendly event.We as a church family just feel it is a privilege to host this event and others like it and appreciate the participation of Crestview Elementary,in helping us reach out to the families of their students and the rest of the surrounding community with God’s Love and His message.I hope you will check out Glenwood at http://www.glenwoodconnection.org and maybe think about joining us for services soon!
So,as I wrap this up just after midnight on Easter morning,2011 I still hear the opening words to Sandy Patty’s song asking “Was it a morning like this? When the sun still hid from Jerusalem,and Mary raced toward the tomb,to tend the Lord, she thought was dead???”
I leave you with the greeting we all give each other on this special Day.As I greet you,I extend my hand,smile and say “Good morning,He is risen!” And you smile and shake my hand and joyfully respond “He is risen INDEED!”
I’m John Losh and if I don’t see you here…………………I’ll see you IN THE AIR!