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Learning to Pray Unceasingly

 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18                                                                                         

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Today’s Lesson: “The Jesus Prayer”                                                       

Take a 10-minute personal prayer retreat by quietly reciting the prayer below.  

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! 

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! 

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! 

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! 

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me! 

(Dedicated to all pilgrims currently listening to the Way of a Pilgrim daily recording, and all who will begin this week!) 

Amen – Let it be, Lord; Let it be.                                                                                              

<><                                                                                                                                    

Pastor Bob


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What is A New Normal? Core Issues for Churches in a Post-COVID-19 World

“Unstuck” is the name of a church consulting firm that specializes in helping churches get “unstuck.” Hence, the name! Also, perhaps not a bad name for a church! Unstuck does a lot of research on the future of churches and what the critical issues will be as churches attempt to move forward in a Post-COVID 19 world.

Recently, on they’re website, they posted an updated list of the 5 “core issues” that churches consistently rank the highest. Here are the results, with a few comments about each one. As you read them, see if you think they pertain to our future here at Vine Street, and if we are doing enough to address the issue, or need to be doing more.

1) Digital Ministry Strategy

Churches are trying to figure out how to establish a digital ministry strategy that connects with people outside the church and outside the faith. And, they also want to provide online experiences for people who are already connected to the church.

The biggest challenge? Churches are beginning to realize they need a new team creating content and experiences targeted specifically to an online audience. It’s one more example of how a change in strategy requires churches to also consider a change in structure.

2) Family Ministry

Churches are starting to recognize that reaching young adults is critical to the future of their ministries, and more and more churches are beginning to prioritize ministry to these young families. Some churches are trying to equip and partner with parents—both those parents who are single and those who are married. 

By the way, kids don’t drive themselves to church. So, churches who want to reach kids for Jesus are prioritizing creating in-person and online experiences that their parents want to engage with, as well. This is probably the number one priority of an effective ministry to kids.

3) Discipleship Pathway

Churches are having difficulty creating a solid and simple discipleship path to help regular attendees, as well as newcomers, take next steps in their walk with Christ.

Many churches have an overwhelming number of programs available, but no cohesive path that helps people learn which steps to take and when. Those churches that do have a clear track for spiritual formation, often don’t include a specific step to encourage relational evangelism. 

4) Outreach Strategy

For many churches, their outreach strategy either involved serving in the community with the hope that the people who were being served would take a next step toward Jesus. Or, they hoped people would invite their friends to attend a worship service. 

Yes, we should serve people. And yes, we should continue to invite people to church. But churches are recognizing outreach needs to look different going forward. 

Unstuck encourages churches to use a two-pronged approach. The first focus is a relational evangelism strategy to encourage people in the church to reach the people God has put in their daily lives. Secondly, we encourage the use of an online engagement strategy to provide content and experiences that engage with people who are outside the church and outside the faith.

5) Communications

Churches often identify two challenges related to communications. First, they don’t have an intentional communications strategy to connect with the person they’re trying to reach. Secondly, they indicated there’s a communication gap internally with the people who are already a part of the church. 

This second challenge is often linked to the lack of a clear discipleship path. Without that, ministry programs and events begin to compete with each other for people’s time and attention. When that happens, there’s always a sense among both the staff and the congregation that it’s a communications problem…when in many cases it’s a complexity problem.

Now, I realize that much of what Unstuck offers to churches is technology and communications focused. Thus, they have a particular bias. But, nevertheless, I found these 5 core issues fascinating because of the resonance they have with so many of the discussions going on right now in our church. 

If you’re able to look past the consulting jargon, I think there are some really profound points here that we need to bear in mind as we all move forward together … into our own “New Normal.”

May Peace Abound, and Light Cover Your World!                                                                 

Pastor Bob


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“Ralph” Responds to Luke: 24: 36-48 (Or … “Learning to Witness”)

Last Sunday I preached on the Gospel story from Luke 24: 36-38. Do you recall Bruce Conlin reading this amazing little “post-Emmaus” story about Jesus coming to see His 11 disciples for the very first time after He left the tomb empty? As a reminder, here it is:

36 While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37 They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate in their presence.

44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.

This week, I discovered a response to that story from someone named Ralph. I love the way that Ralph speaks so honestly and passionately. I found this on the blog “Rumors: Sermon Helps for Preachers with a Sense of Humor.” 

I share Ralph’s testimony with you to serve as an inspiration and motivation for all of us to take to heart what Jesus tells us at the end of the text. Jesus says, “You are witnesses of these things.” 

We need to do more of that “witnessing” thing that Jesus calls us to. Perhaps starting to share our own “witness” with others in the congregation is a good way to find comfort with it. In fact, I’ve started a new segment in our worship service called “Meet the Flock.” It’s an opportunity for us to get to know more about the faith life of our fellow disciples. If you’re interested in sharing, give me a shout.  

C’mon! Give it a try. Not because I ask you. But because He calls you. 

Now, check out Ralph’s little testimony:

After reading the scripture story above, Ralph says –

 

 

“It was perfectly clear. The facts were there staring them in the face.
The disciples had seen the horror of Jesus’ crucifixion. They had seen his corpse. They understood the finality of the stone rolled across the gaping, black mouth of the tomb.

 

 

There was nothing left to do but face up to reality and get on with life. One step at a time. One day at a time. Nothing but raw, bloody-minded, cold-as-steel determination to keep you going. If you can’t find that strength within yourself, you’re toast.

 

 

I am not prepared to argue with anyone about whether those disciples saw Jesus that day. Did he really eat that piece of fish? Did they really converse with him? Isn’t it true that in the depth of grief the human imagination soars, and we see and experience all sorts of weird and wonderful things?

 

 

I do know this. The story of a resurrected Christ – the cosmic Christ – the real presence of God among us – this fable, legend, myth or whatever you choose to call it – this graceful presence has rescued me from the depths of grief when there was nothing inside myself to help me stand and walk again.

 

 

In the ordinary times of life, in the day-by-day living, that presence offers a comfortable sense of purpose – a gentle, firm nudge toward a life of love in action. With forgiveness, over and over again when I fall short of my own standards, and firm, parental pushes to get me back in there and do better.

 

 

And the moments of high joy. Many of them. At many points in my life. The last one being in the combined choir of two congregations singing an Easter Cantata – it was one of those moments when everything came together and we sang with one voice! Shouting! Celebrating! Praising!

 

 

So, I will live inside that story. I’m just not tough enough to handle the alternative.” 

Thanks for sharing Ralph! I can relate …                                                                                A WITNESS: Pastor Bob <><


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Thoughts on Easter Baptism

I wonder if there were any other baptisms in our local churches this Easter. Of course, Easter is a traditional time for baptisms, but in the COVID-19 times in which we live, the act of immersing someone in a pool of water may not seem like the safest of things to be doing. But that kind of thinking really misses the point.  

The act of being “baptized” isn’t about the water as much as it is about the Holy Spirit. Sometimes the church can confuse the congregants by their formulaic approach to a very personal and intimate decision between them and God. 

In our denomination at Vine Street Christian Church, we are advised that a good time for a person to be baptized is when they’re in the 5th grade. And I have baptized many young people because this formula says that the time has come. And perhaps it has. We do our best to prepare young people for baptism by teaching them the purpose and meaning of baptism and exploring various scripture verses which relate to such a decision. But only they and God can determine the right time. Not their church.   

To help one assess if God is calling them to be baptized, I personally like to use the questions Jesus himself uses to get at the real heart of the matter of making a lifelong commitment to Christ. “What are you seeking?” “Who do you say that I am?” “What do you want me to do for you?” “Why are you worried?” Questions like these can help go beyond the church formula that’s it’s time to be baptized when you’re in the 5th grade, for example, to a much deeper personal commitment to God. 

And that’s so important. True baptism is not just a rite of passage in one’s church life, but most importantly it is a bold and daring proclamation one makes that they have decided to no longer live for themselves, but instead to live solely for Jesus. It doesn’t matter what grade one is in. All that matters is that the heart is yearning to die to self and live for Christ. 

Christian churches throughout the world can, and do, make up rules and requirements about baptism; things like whether one should be immersed, poured upon, or sprinkled by water, or whether one must pass some sort of “purity” test to be baptized in “their” church (beware divorcees, gays, unmarried couples, non-members of the church, free thinkers, and all other heretics and lepers in the eyes of the church). 

As with many things sacred, we like to turn them into more worldly and secular acts by establishing our own set of terms and meanings for things intended to be divine, and according only to God’s will. Walk into just about any church, and study the various denominations, and you will uncover a slew of policies and guidelines for things that Jesus never mentioned or cared about, even though He already knows all about them! 

This list of rules and policies might be endless, it seems: How to take communion, and who can take it; What church membership requires of a person;  What kind of music is allowed in worship; What moral code must be met to participate in church;  What clothing attire is acceptable on Sunday mornings; What translation of the Bible must be used; What gender, age, and lifestyle is suitable to be an elder; who is allowed to have a key to the church … and on and on it goes. Churches can take these things very seriously!  

And none of them, none, is part of the ministry and teaching of Jesus Christ. And especially curious to Jesus followers today is that many of these kinds of things are inherited directly from the first century Pharisees, the very group that could not see God when He was standing right in front of them telling them what God desires of them. They preferred their own traditional way of doing things. So they killed Jesus. And so it goes. 

This past Easter Sunday, I baptized a 92 year-old woman who was being called to a deeper relationship with Jesus. That woman is my mom, Lois! For her baptism, we poured water on her head to symbolize the reception in her heart of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

But it wasn’t the water that baptized her. It was God … sent down upon her by the Holy Spirit — just as it was for Jesus. When John the Baptist raised Jesus from the water, he was not baptized by the water. But then the Holy Spirit came down upon Him, like a dove (not an actual dove, but the Spirit was “like a dove”) and the Father verbally responded to Jesus, in His heart, that he was well pleased with His Son. Now, that’s baptism! 

I’m not sure how many church or denominational rules and policies I broke on Easter morning. But even if I broke 500 such restrictions, I could never match the number of church rules and policies that Jesus broke. But still, He didn’t come to break rules; it just ended up that way. He came to free us from rules, and polices, and prejudices, and biases, and all other church-prescribed ways of controlling the way we give away our lives to Jesus. He came to place himself in the very center of our lives, so that everything we do, including church, is based on his way, for He is the way, the truth, and the life. Not us.

I have no question that my mom’s baptism on Easter was anything less than a profound spiritual experience in which God was leading her and our congregation, and we were following. I have no doubt that the water used for that baptism was holy, yes, but a mere symbol of the power of God working with the things of creation to compel the Holy Spirit to rest upon yet another true disciple of Jesus. My mom, in case you don’t know her, has spent a lifetime, and will continue forever, exploring those questions of Jesus, embracing the mystery that is God, and being a faithful follower of Him and of His church.

I love my Mom for so many reasons, but especially on Easter for reminding me, and all of us, what it means to give your life away to God, and to receive the power of the Holy Spirit through baptism!                                                                                                                                                  Pastor Bob <><                                                                                                                                                      Vine Street Christian Church


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The Easter Thoughts of Mary Magdalene

(Several years ago, I used this reading as part of an Easter Sunrise service. It spoke deeply to me then. It seemed I had much more in common with Mary Magdalene than I thought! This week, the first week of the Easter season, I pulled it back out, and it spoke to me again … but in a completely different and new way. Isn’t that how God works!                                                     Perhaps it will speak to you too. ~ Pastor Bob)

I have heard the words with my own ears, yet I cannot believe it. I must take a few minutes to compose myself before I run to tell the disciples what I have seen and heard. For they will surely think that I am mad — again. They will not believe me. Why should they believe me? I do not even believe myself, all that I have heard and seen this day.

Perhaps the demons have come back! People say that I was possessed by seven demons. Those are dark times, cloudy times for me. I was so miserable. I know that sometimes my whole body revealed the anguish my mind was going through. That is when I first heard of this wandering Rabbi called Jesus. They said he had the power to heal, but I had little faith or hope that anyone could help me. I was too depressed to have much hope in anything then. But the other women of Magdala were going to see him, so I thought I’d go too. Perhaps some small part of me was still able to hope. 

We went to a hillside outside of Magdala and waited for him to join us. He appeared, surrounded by his 12 chosen, and then he climbed to the top of the hill and began to speak. It was a huge crowd, but everything got quiet when he spoke. Everyone listened to him. Even though I had not been able to keep my concentration for longer than 5 minutes for years, I found myself suddenly calm inside. 

I don’t quite know how he knew me – whether someone had told him or whether he just saw the pained, crazy look on my face, but he came over and knelt down beside me. I remember I began to tremble, just as I am trembling now. But he looked into my eyes and he called me by name, just as He did today. I don’t know how, but He knew my name. He said, “Mary, Mary, be free of your demons.” 

And then, He looked at me with so much love. How could he love me, a stranger? My own family found me unlovable. I found myself unlovable most of the time. But there He stood, and the love shone in his eyes, and tears welled up in mine. Could I love myself as He was loving me? Could I trust myself as he was trusting me? 

“You are precious; you are whole” he said to me, and I will never forget that moment as long as I live. That was the moment I knew he was the Messiah we had been praying and hoping for. His look of love changed everything for me. I felt whole for the first time in my life, though the demons of fear and anxiety and self-doubt still come back to haunt me and tempt me like they are doing now. 

I committed my life to Him at that moment. I packed up and left home to follow Him. My family didn’t understand. They said I was still crazy. Men could wander around with a traveling rabbi, men could spend their time learning and speaking of the reign of God, but if a woman did it, she was crazy, possessed. But, I went anyway and I was not the only one. If I was crazy, so were Suzanna and Joanna and many other women. 

And Jesus did not send us away, he never told us to go home and be quiet. He welcomed us and taught us many things about the Kingdom of God and about what would be required of us. And then he died. 

There was still so much more I wanted to learn, so much more he had to do. How could they do that? How could our priests, our holy men, persecute him? I followed after them that night, hysterical, feeling more out of control than I had since I met him. They paraded him from one court to another until they finally got what they wanted – his crucifixion. And his friends, his noble 12, they were nowhere to be found. Oh, Peter followed for a while, but when he was afraid that they might turn on him, he too disappeared.

After they beat him and humiliated him, they nailed our Jesus to the cross and I was there – all the women were still there at the foot of the cross, following him even unto death. It seemed like forever that he hung there, suffering silently. The others were yelling and cursing, but all his thoughts were for us: He told John to take care of his mother. He asked God to forgive those who had killed him, “Father forgive them” He said, “for they know not what they do.” And they say I am crazy!

But my grief did make me crazy, then. It was terrible, overwhelming. And even though it has been three days ago, the pain has not subsided; the tears come from an unending spring. I can’t believe that he’s dead. I can’t believe they would crucify someone so loving and gentle as if he were a common criminal.  I can’t believe that I am alone again.

Or am I? 

Did I really see an empty tomb? Were there really 2 angels sitting in his place? Or was it all a dream, a fantasy born of grief. Was that really him who spoke to me? How could I think he was the gardener until I heard his voice? Why would my eyes not recognize my Lord? What if that was really him? What if I was not dreaming some strange daydream? Could it really be true? Could he be alive again? 

Oh, no, my mind is still so confused, so overwhelmed. No one will believe me, not me, certainly not me. They will think this is all grief causing me to again go crazy. But he was there. I know in my heart it was Jesus. He spoke in that same kind, gentle voice that soothed me so long ago. 

He has risen! Praise be to God – he is the Messiah. I am not alone, and I will never be alone again. My grief has turned to ecstasy; a sign of madness they will surely tell me. But I know what I saw.

Indeed, he has risen, and he has told me to go and tell the disciples. Oh Jesus, why me? Why are you sending me? Why have you singled me out from all the others? Is it just because in my grief I could not stay away from your grave? Is it just coincidence? No. You have chosen me, Master. I feel your call deep within me. I know even now that you want me to go, to flee immediately to the 12 and tell them what I have seen and what I have heard.

But I can’t. I am not the one to speak. Why would anyone believe me, a woman? Why would anyone believe me, a person with my reputation and my illness – cured or not? The men will never believe me. They will ridicule me and humiliate me. Peter and John were here, they saw nothing. They will not believe that Jesus has appeared to me, and commissioned me to proclaim his resurrection. I am afraid. 

What am I going to do?

Dear Jesus, I look at your empty tomb and I know I cannot keep this secret to myself. You have come back to show us that you have conquered death and that you will never leave us again. This message is for everyone. I must tell someone. I must tell everyone. 

After the way you have suffered these last three days, whatever they do to me will be a small price to pay. And there will be others who will believe. They will see this empty tomb and remember all your promises and their grief too will turn to ecstasy.

I serve a Risen Savior! And if I am mad, it is a glorious madness. A madness that will last through all eternity. 

I go now, Jesus, to spread the news. I go…


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DENYING JESUS

In the week before the very first “Easter,” the disciple known as Peter revealed the true  intentions of his heart to the man that he left everything for. In the Gospel of John, as Jesus is  just beginning a three-chapter sermon with his 12 disciples on what’s going to happen to Him  as the week goes on, and why (see John 14, 15 & 16), Peter finds the truth too hard to believe.  

It’s at the end of Chapter 13 of John when Jesus tells the disciples he will be leaving  soon (John 13:33), and more importantly, he says, “where I am going you cannot come.” It  must have been startling to those 12 men who had been following Jesus for 3 years or so to  then hear Him say that they cannot follow Him anymore. As a consolation, sort of, Jesus tells  them “but you will follow later.” (John 13:36) 

I’m not so sure if that appeased any of the disciples, but we can be sure that it didn’t  satisfy Peter. Peter ranted, somewhat like a 6-year-old might, telling Jesus in response, “Lord,  why can’t I follow you now?” And then, in the emotional state he found himself in at the time,  he blurted out how he really felt about Jesus. “I will lay down my life for you.”  

I’m absolutely sure that’s what Peter wanted to believe about himself. He, of all the  disciples, would be the one to openly announce that to Jesus’s face. But it wasn’t the truth;  and Jesus knew it wasn’t the truth. At least not yet. In that moment, it was wishful thinking, at  best. Peter wished he was the one disciple, at that time, who could prove his love and  dedication to Jesus was beyond question. I can see how Jesus, in that moment, loved him just  for that desire. 

But Jesus also questioned Peter. “Will you really lay down your life for me?” Can you  imagine, Jesus calling to you by name, and asking you to your face, “Will you really lay down  your life for me?” My hunch is we would say exactly what Peter said. Of course, Lord Jesus, I  am ready and willing to die for you right now!” But, would we mean it?  

If so, let’s be clear about this life you say you would be willing to give away for Jesus.  The truth is, Jesus is not asking you for just your physical life. He is asking for much more than  that; your eternal life. The whole enchilada! Not just your earthly existence while spending  time on earth, but the whole kit and caboodle. What Jesus is really asking for is that your spirit  and soul belong to Him, by allowing him to take residence in your heart.  

Now, if you do that, you may find yourself one day in a position of having to give your  physical life for Jesus, but that is not His point. The eternal spirited self that God placed within  you at creation is the very “life” that Jesus wants.  

When you hear things like: Jesus gave His life for you and you should do the same for  him; Jesus says we must die to our self first, and then be born anew; and, Jesus teaches that a  true friend is one willing to lay down his life for another, it’s imperative to understand what  “life” means for Jesus. Life, for Him, is not limited to human life on earth, but is infinite and  eternal in His Father’s presence.  

Well, I think you already know Jesus’s response as to whether Peter is serious about  giving his life for him. He prophesizes to Peter, saying “Very truly I tell you, before the rooster  crows, you will disown me three times.” (John 13:38) Hint: whenever Jesus says, “Very truly,”  it’s always the truth. Bigger Hint: whenever Jesus speaks, it’s always the truth!  

Soon after, Peter fulfills the prophecy and denies Jesus three times before morning  comes. He says things like: I don’t know who he is; and I’ve never been with him; and I am NOT  one of his disciples. 

Wow! That seemed pretty easy, didn’t it? From full “willing to die for you” commitment,  to complete and total denial in a matter of hours. I bet we can imagine just how easy that  would be!  

BUT … that was Peter before Easter. That was during a time when the disciples,  including Peter, were still coming to an understanding of who Jesus really was. A rabbi? A  king? A “messiah? Actually, yes … all those things. But one thing much more important. Jesus  was God with us … Emmanuel. Peter and the disciples had not yet grasped the full  understanding of what that truth meant.  

And … neither have we. To do that, takes a lifetime, and beyond. But we can begin anytime. Especially, this Sunday … the 2,021st Easter. You see, Easter is about encountering the  true Spirit of the living God, a gift that came to us directly from Jesus the Son. All of it … God.  

On Easter morning, Peter runs to the tomb of Jesus and finds it empty. I’m sure he  realized in that moment, that a rabbi, or a king, or a “messiah” cannot rise from the dead and  walk out of a tomb. But God can. Oh My God! Jesus is God!  

After that encounter with the empty tomb, and then the direct encounters with the  risen Christ, Peter had finally fulfilled his wish. Indeed, Peter would give the rest of his life to  Jesus, serving Him for the rest of his earthly life.  

Never again would Peter deny Jesus. He never again said “I don’t know Jesus.” He never  again claimed he had never been with Jesus. And he never again denied that he was one of the  disciples of Jesus. His life was changed forever, and he accomplished his goal of giving his life  away for Jesus by living it for Jesus!  

Could this be the Easter that you make the same leap that Peter made at the first  Easter? We all have good intentions. But Easter is about a lot more than good intentions, as  Peter found out.  

So, what about you? The life that Jesus wants from you is the very same life that God  gave to you. Jesus was there when you were created, and He will be there when you leave  here. But it’s your life on earth that matters most to God today, because that’s the life when  you get to choose. So, I ask you: Do you know who Jesus really is? Do you want or claim to be  His disciple? Do you never want to be without Him? If so … tell Him on Sunday. Then your  Easter could be just as life-changing as Peter’s first Easter was for him. It’s for you to choose. 

Happy Easter to All!  

<>< Pastor Bob


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