Sunday, April 7, 2013

Easter Revisited

"Good morning," Pastor Shannon exclaimed as he welcomed us. "We are a resurrection community. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power that gives us hope!"

Today's very special service was a nice blend of a variety of components, beginning as usual with...

~ The Church Rummage Sale is coming up April 19 and 20. Proceeds will go to the Church Building Fund. Helpers (volunteers) are welcome (needed) for both days. The list of things to donate included gardening items, kitchen and household items, clean toys, games, small appliances, tools, nice clothing, jackets, shoes (with mates preferred) books, sporting goods and antiques…No junk, please.

~ The capital campaign committee is moving forward and will keep us posted of their progress. 

~ Norm shared about the an uplifting Gaither concert he recently attended afer which he contacted the organizers, a group called Music for the Master. He learned that Guy Penrod will be in the Cities for a concert September 29 and Norm will try to assemble a bus or van to go. As other concerts come Norm will keep us posted and share opportunities to participate.

~ Brooke noted that the first planning meeting for VBS will be held after the service next Sunday.

Drake led worship this morning, beginning with "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing."

Pearl and Ruth Anne had their Sunday School class share some of what they have been learning this year. Then Norm and Mae sang for us while the offering was taken.

Each month we’ve been having various people share what God has been doing in their lives and Ken Smith spoke with us today. “My name is Ken, and I’ve been saved by God’s grace.” Ken’s very heartfelt story began with telling how he grew up in a church in Nebraska that was always active, the lights were always on. His challenging first marriage ended with his wife’s passing after two strokes which left him feeling lost for a period of time. Through Chuck’s agency he was introduced to Vicki. “I thank God for second chances,” he said, closing with lyrics from the classic song, “Through It All.”

I thank God for the mountains, 
and I thank Him for the valleys, 
I thank Him for the storms He brought me through. 
For if I'd never had a problem, 
I wouldn't know God could solve them, 
I'd never know what faith in God could do.

A representative from the Gideon’s, also named Ken, was with us this morning to share about this vital ministry of Bible distribution, more than 1.5 billion in the past 105 years in more than 90 languages.

Easter Revisited

Several friends are sitting at a restaurant. The topic of funeral comes up and one asks, "What would you like said at your funeral?" One says he would like to be recognized for his work and career achievements. A second said he would like someone to say what a great husband and father he was. The third said he would like to hear someone say, “Look, his body just moved!”

This morning’s message about Easter will be about a body that did move, that left an empty tomb.

Pastor Brad read the account from the Gospel of Luke. In the story, when Peter heard the news he ran to that empty tomb to see for himself. “What if it’s true?”

This is followed by the story of the two men on the road to Emmaus later that day. They had been believers in this Jesus, but their hopes were shattered on Calvary. The risen Lord revealed Himself to these two who initially didn’t know who it was… but as soon as their eyes were opened ….

If it's true that Jesus rose from the dead on Easter, then everything Jesus taught must also be true. And if everything Jesus taught is true, then we can't be neutral. We must be total believers or believers not at all. As C.S. Lewis said, "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if ture, is of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important."

If the resurrection is true then it changes everything for us.
Blaise Pascal was a brilliant 17th century French scientist and philosopher famous for his research and theories pertaining to mathematics, physics, economics and social science. Pascal's Wager is one of the most famous arguments for believing in the existence of God.

1) God exists or does not exist. Everyone must decide.
2) If you believe in God and God does exist, you will be rewarded with eternal life in heaven. Infinite gain.
3) If you do not believe in God and God does exist, you don’t go to heaven. Infinite loss.
4) If you believe in God and God does not exist, you gain nothing and lose nothing.

In other words, those who believe in God have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Those who don’t believe in God have everything to lose and nothing to gain. Pascal said that the smart and wise person will choose to believe in God.

The same goes for the Easter resurrection of Jesus. We all must decide if we believe it’s true or not. If we choose not to believe, and Jesus really did rise from the dead, we have everything to lose. If we choose to believe in the truth of the resurrection, we have everything to gain: God, Jesus, eternal life and more.

After these thoughts, we were invited to celebrate the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.  

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