Resurrection Sunday

John 20:1-9 (New International Version)

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. (2) So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
(3) So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. (4) Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. (5) He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. (6) Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, (7) as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. (8) Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (9) (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)

John 20:24-28 (New International Version)

(24) Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. (25) So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
(26) A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
(27) Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” (28) Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

He is Risen!! He is Risen Indeed!!

Holy Saturday

Jesus died on Friday afternoon. The following day was the Sabbath. It was a day of quiet pain and silent questions. We also call it “Holy Saturday” or “Black Saturday.” I heard one preacher recently call it Easter Eve.
On this day several years ago I held a Holy Week Art Show. The Church had gone to see “The Passion of the Christ.” Everyone’s emotions were in high gear and I asked anyone in the congregation who felt artistic to do some form of artwork inspired by the story of Jesus Passion. We rented a small community theater and placed all the artwork inside around the auditorium. There was some beautiful and powerful artwork done by all ages in numerous mediums. It was inspiring on many levels. At 7:00 pm the theater opened and I had refreshments ready for people to enjoy as they focused on the story of Jesus passion shown with art. The plan was to stay open till 9:00 pm or until the crowds decided to go.
Well, 7:00 pm came and 1 family showed. 8:00 pm came and another family showed. 9:00 pm came and that was it. We had over 3 dozens pieces of artwork and only 2 families showed up to see them. I am not kidding. On Sunday I asked people where they were on Saturday. Everyone said the same type of thing. “We got busy.” “We forgot.” “We never thought about it.”
Needless to say, I quit planning anything on Holy Saturday. I have learned that people don’t feel the same emotions they did on the first Easter weekend. Nothing can change that, it is just a fact. The original Holy Saturday was am emotional experience for Jesus followers and for most of us today it is not.
Why do I tell you all of this? Because I would like you to pause for a few minutes and thank God for his finished work in Jesus Christ. We don’t need to feel those emotions because Jesus has already risen and death has lost its sting.
Thank God there will never be another Black Saturday again.

Maundy Thursday

For years I have referred to the Thursday before Easter as “Maundy” Thursday. Today I used that expression with a person and they asked me exactly what that meant. I told them the textbook answer:

Maundy Thursday is observed during Holy Week on the Thursday before Easter. It commemorates the Last Supper when Jesus shared the Passover meal with his disciples on the night before he was crucified. In contrast to joyful Easter celebrations when Christians worship their resurrected Savior, Maundy Thursday services are typically more solemn occasions, marked by the shadow of Jesus’ betrayal.

Then they asked me, but what does “Maundy” mean? So I looked it up and thought you might like the answer as well:

Derived from the Latin word mandatum, meaning “commandment,” Maundy refers to the commands Jesus gave his disciples at the Last Supper: to love with humility by serving one another (foot-washing) and to remember his sacrifice through communion or Eucharist.

Today is Maundy Thursday and I pray you take some time to reflect on Jesus’ betrayal and sacrifice.
Tomorrow is looking “Good.”

Bringing People for Easter

Perry Noble, Pastor at Newspring Church in South Carolina, had a great post over on his Blog.

This is worth repeating if you are thinking about inviting anyone to an Easter program at Church. Here it is:

One of the things I’ve ALWAYS loved about our church is that we’ve always responded to the challenge to do whatever it takes to invite people to come to church, even when it means having an uncomfortable conversation.

However, something that has been taught to us throughout this series really hit home last night in the conversation that Clayton and I had with our waitress.

We asked her did she go to church anywhere and she said no.

We then told her that we would love for her to come to NewSpring and she lit up and said, “oh wow, someone else invited me there too!”

Clayton then pointed to me and said, “that’s the pastor.”

She replied, “Oh yeah, I remember you, I came one time about six years ago and you were wearing a T-shirt that said, ‘God is watching you download that porn!”

I laughed and told her that I remember wearing that shirt and asked her did she not come back because the shirt offended her, to which she replied, “oh no, the shirt didn’t bother me at all; in fact, I thought it was funny. The reason I did not come back is that I didn’t have anyone who would come with me.”

I was reminded on the spot that SO MANY PEOPLE in this world feel all alone…and that they would come to church if we really did make the effort to not just INVITE them…but BRING them (just like the guys did in Mark 2:1-12, just like Andrew did for Peter and Phillip did for Nathaniel in John 1:35-51!)

NewSpring, I can promise you that these are going to be the most amazing Easter services we’ve EVER had, and I have NEVER felt the anticipation levels like they are right now!!! However, it is my prayer that we will not just INVITE people, but offer to BRING them. I can promise you it WILL make a huge difference – instead of saying, “Why don’t you visit my church this Sunday” to say, “I would love for you to join me for church and afterwards we could go out and grab a bite.”

I’m pumped, SOOOOOOO pumped…and I know Easter is going to be special!! MAYBE “that person” has told you “no” dozens of times!!! They are worth one more ask!!! And, don’t just INVITE them, BRING THEM.

Let’s do this!!!

That’s My King

There is a Christian piece of material called “That’s My king.” It is an old piece and you may have seen it, heard it or even read it, but it always seems appropriate this time of year.

It is called “That’s My King” by S.M. Lockridge. HERE is a video version and it is worth a listen. There are numerous videos out there with Dr. Lockridge’s voice and different pictures.

I once typed in a version of this piece, but after listening to it I realized my version had a few minor differences. I am guessing that Mr. Lockridge used the same material several times in several locations with minor variances.
So here is the version I possess in writing:

THAT’S MY KING By Shadrach Meshach Lockridge

My King is a seven way king
He’s the King of the Jews. That’s a racial King
He’s the King of Israel. That’s a national King
He’s the King of righteousness
He’s the King of the ages
He’s the King of Heaven
He’s the King of glory
He’s the King of Kings and He’s the Lord of Lords

That’s my King

My King is a sovereign King.
No means of measure can divide his limitless love.
No far-reaching telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of his shoreless supply.
No barrier can hinder him from pouring out his blessings

Why He’s enduringly strong
He’s entirely sincere
He’s eternally steadfast
He’s immortality graceful
He’s empirically powerful
He’s impartially merciful

Oh !!! Do you know him? Do you know him?

He’s the greatest phenomenon that has ever cross the horizons of the world
He’s God’s Son
He’s the sinner’s savior
He’s the centerpiece of civilization
He stands in the solitude of himself
He’s August and He’s unique
He’s unparalleled
He’s unprecedented
He’s the loftiest ideal in literature
He’s the highest personality in philosophy
He’s the supreme problem in high criticism
He’s the fundamental doctrine of true theology
He’s the necessity of spiritual religion
He’s the miracle of the ages
He’s the superlative of everything good that you choose call him
He’s the only one qualified to be in all sufficiency

Oh !!! I wonder do you know him? Do you know him?

He’s the key of knowledge
He’s the wellspring of wisdom
He’s the doorway of deliverance
He’s the pathway of peace
He’s the roadway of righteousness
He’s the highway of holiness
He’s the gateway of glory
He’s the master of the mighty
He’s the captain of the conquerors
He’s the head the heros
He’s the leader of the legislatures
He’s the over comer of the over comers
He’s the governor of the governors
He’s the prince of princes
He’s the Lord of Lords

That’s my King

Oh!!! I wonder if you know him?

He supplies strength for the weak
He’s available for the tempted and the tried
He sympathizes and he saves
He guards and he guides
He heals the sick
He cleansed the lepers
He forgave sinners
He discharged debtors
He delivers the captives
He defends the feeble
He blesses the young
He serves the unfortunate
He regards the aged
He rewards the diligent
and He beautifies the meek

Oh!!! Do you know him? Do you know?

His office is manifold
His promise is sure
His life is matchless
His goodness is limitless
His mercy is everlasting

His love never changes
His word is enough
His grace is sufficient
His reigning is righteous
His yoke is easy and His burden is light

Oh!! I wish I could describe Him to you

He’s indescribable
He’s incomprehensible
He’s invincible
He’s irresistible
The Heaven of Heavens can’t contain him
Let alone a man try to explain him
You can’t get Him out of your mind
And you can’t off of you hands
You can’t outlive Him
and you can’t live without Him

That’s my King !! That’s my King

The Pharisees couldn’t stand Him
but they found they couldn’t stop Him
Pilate couldn’t find any fault with Him
The witnesses couldn’t get their testimony to agree
Herod couldn’t kill Him
Death couldn’t handle Him

AND THE GRAVE COULDN’T HOLD HIM

That’s my King !! That’s my King