Walking in the Shadow of the Resurrection

Life's enjoymentEaster’s over, the crowds have dispersed, eggs found, rabbits eaten, services conducted, Monday came and went…now what?

Maybe the answer lies in how Monday went.  Did it seem like Easter to you?  Were you walking in the shadow of the Resurrection?  Was it filled with hope and grace, forgiveness and joy?

It’s so easy to forget that Easter is not a one time a year thing, but for those who have been transformed by the power of the Spirit of God because of the satisfaction of the Father’s righteous wrath towards sin, every day is Easter!  Everyday is marked by the forgiveness of Christ so that today I can take a deep breath and, with hope rather than dread, embrace the adventure that is “today”.

Whatever you’re dealing with today, if you’ve trusted in the One who overcame death, deal with it with the resurrection power that is able to say, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

Death couldn’t defeat Christ and, because of that, you and I “are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37, with context)

How Deep Indeed!

emptytombheader

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I knoww that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom


[Words and music by Stuart Townsend]

Resurrection Weekend at The Gathering

This weekend is going to be huge in the life of The Gathering.  We are going to start the weekend with an incredible time of reflection and worship at 7:00 PM Friday, celebrating Communion together.

This has always been very special to our Gathering Family and this year promises to be even better!  If you have come to trust in Jesus, we invite you to share in this very special Good Friday service as we remember together the sacrifice that was made to purchase our redemption.

Our Good Friday celebration will also kick off a weekend Fast.  Did that scare you away?  I hope not as this is going to be an incredible time of focused prayer during the weekend as we remember throughout the day on Saturday what this weekend is really about, plus it will give us an opportunity to be in prayer together about what God is going to do in our worship celebration on Sunday morning.  I want to encourage you to pray for the many people who will be with us that morning who need to experience Jesus for the very first time.  I’ll be giving you a guide explaining what a fast is and how to go about it effectively at the service on Friday night.

Then on Sunday morning, we’re going to “Break Fast” together at 9:00 A.M. in the Commons (so bring your favorite breakfast dish), celebrating what God did during the fast and what He’s going to do in worship.  We’ll also have another opportunity to spend some time in prayer together.  At 10:45, we’ll have the big celebration.  Led by one of the best worship bands anywhere, we’ll celebrate the risen Lord and then hear what God has to say to us, expecting great things.

There are two other big things about Sunday:  First, we’re looking to completely “PACK THE HOUSE.”  We want every member of The Gathering present on Sunday morning with at least one guest.  I can’t think of a better time to invite someone to come with you to experience all God is doing through His ministry here!  Secondly, we’re going to celebrate through Believer’s Baptism.  There is absolutely no more appropriate day for baptism than Resurrection Sunday morning!  We know of four people who will be baptized so far and are going to do something a little different:  We’re going to offer spontaneous baptism.  As when the Ethiopian was saved in Acts 8, in which he asked,  “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?”, we’re going to offer anyone who comes to trust in Jesus on Sunday the opportunity to be baptized immediately!  What a cool thing that would be, huh?

So, as you can see, it’s going to be a weekend you’re not going to want to miss!  Please make plans to join us and find at least one person that you know needs to be here and bring them.  I can’t wait and hope you can’t either!

The Testimony of God – 1 John 5:6-10

It has always been said that actions speak louder than words.  It’s one thing to make a claim, it’s another to back it up.  In 1 John 5:6-10, the apostle tells us that Jesus did both.  He not only claimed to be the Son of God and savior to the world, his actions are evidence of that truth.  Beyond that, the Holy Spirit, as we’ve talked about before, offers testimony, both internally and externally (which we’ll see in just a second).

I suppose this could be considered one of those passages somewhat difficult to understand.  John starts talking about Jesus coming by water and blood and that testifies about him, agreeing that He is the Son of God and it can sound pretty crazy at first.  I think, though, if we break it down just a bit, we’ll see what I believe John is talking about.

The testimony of water.  This most likely refers to Jesus’ baptism.  We need to think about what that was all about and what happened.  When Jesus came up out of the water, after having identified Himself with us in the act of baptism, the Spirit of God descended upon Him for all to see and a voice was heard giving testimony:  “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  God, Himself, testified and the Spirit confirmed the nature and person of who Jesus was as He obediently undertook an important sign of His identification with us.

Then, of course, was the blood.  Jesus not only talked about the need for Salvation, He provided it.  He put His money where His mouth was and went to the cross, fulfilling prophecy completely, demonstrating His divinity through the resurrection.  John says that their (the witnesses) testimony is strong, having seen all of this take place, but the testimony of the Spirit of God, Himself, the baptism and the sacrifice of Christ give us a certainty of who Jesus was and is.  It is because of this that John speaks in such strong terms regarding making God a liar, having been provided such compelling evidence.

In the midst of such turmoil surrounding this “holiday” season (who can put up what display and is this a pagan holiday or a Christian one, etc.) we who are Believers can reflect on the reason Christ came and appreciate the testimony God has given us that Jesus became flesh to bring hope to the hopeless, sight to the blind, healing to the sick and salvation to the lost.

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