As a kitchen full of busy bees tirelessly cooked french toast and sausage, friends, family and new guests poured through our church doors for a very special Easter worship celebration! We packed out our little worship facility with over 35 people from all walks of life: some we knew, some we didn't, but all eager to share life this Easter.
The sanctuary was transformed into a cafe with a very special 3-D backdrop (created by Donna, Mili and Casey), focusing our attention to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks to Jenna and Jesse Briles, we enjoyed beautiful table decorations and even had a lovely photo corner!
Discussion, scripture readings, singing, holy communion, and a message on "Sharing the Resurrected Life" were on the agenda for the morning. But more valuable than anything we could have said or organized was the sense that the risen Christ was actually with us. Thank you, Father, for such a meaningful way to celebrate your ultimate love that sent you to the cross for our ultimate good!
This is now my second Easter as a pastor here in New Zealand, and each year I learn something new (or many 'somethings'). The longer I am here and the more I preach, the more I grasp the reality that people need . . . life. They don't need my clever words delivered in a some special sermon; they don't even need a stomach full of good food. They don't really need emotionally-charged music or elaborate programmes. All these things are good, but when I've run out of clever words . . . when the food has long run its course through the digestive system . . . when the music has faded and the programme strategies no longer work. . . life goes on.
What people need is real life; life free from sin and full of purpose and meaning. This life can only be found in Jesus Christ, the God-Man who was crucified, dead and buried, and then victoriously arose from the dead to display his superiority over every authority and power imaginable. This is the GOOD NEWS of Easter! And a personal relationship with this God-Man Jesus Christ. . .
This is life.