Saturday, April 10, 2010

Easter service

Last Sunday was Easter and our church had a wonderful service, however, it was short. I go to what many people now consider a mega church. We had over 14 services around the church campus that morning in different locations. I attended the 10am service in the main worship center. There were five in the main worship center - 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11. I remember thinking this is a good service but what is missing. I started pondering this thought as I, along with 2 of my dear friend Nicole and Katie, waited for 20 minutes just to be able to back out of our parking spot. Parking was a nightmare because the 10 and 11 were probably the 2 busiest services all morning. It was in the wait for the parking that everything started becoming clear to me. The service was shorter because more people than normal would be coming and there had to be enough time between services to shuffle people in and out of the sanctuary.

And then, when we got home I casually said something like "wouldn't it be great it if we had problems like this every week." Wouldn't it be great if all of our churches were adding services to accommodate all the believers? Then another thought hit me....this was made me sad. At least half of those people that came to the Easter service only come to church on the major holidays - Easter, Christmas and a few other times that fit "their" schedule. AH! That is the other reason for a shortened service and a somewhat watered down version of the Easter message. My next thought was a question. Why do our pastors and we as the believers who attend regularly worry about offending those who only come on Easter and Christmas?

I don't know about you, but I am tired of catering to those that are offended. I am not making you come to church or do things that will offend you. You came because somewhere in your train of thought something said "Go to church, it is after all a holy day". I most assuredly won't try and make you believe something you don't want to, BUT, just because you don't believe it doesn't mean that others will not believe it. For too long, Christians who do attend regularly and who do serve in their church, have said "OK" when non-believers or watered down believers say that offends me, can we soften that message some or that offends me, you can't talk about, pray or do anything like that that offends me. Here is what I have to say to you, GET OVER YOURSELVES!

Here is the Easter message, the unwatered down version and I make no apologies for it. If you are offended, don't read things I write. I am not going to change what I say or how I live my life. God sent His one and Only Son to live with us human here on earth. He was perfect and He became sin so that we might have eternal life and know what it was liked to be loved unconditionally. After a 3 year ministry on earth, when all the prophecies had been fulfilled, Jesus was handed over (betrayed by a kiss from one of His disciples). He was tried 6 different times - 3 Jewish trials and 3 Roman trials. He is sentenced to death on a cross, the most inhumane and most cruel form of death ever. He was beaten, a crown of thorns placed on His head, mocked, spat upon and probably endured lots more forms of disrespect. He was led to Golgotha carrying His own cross for his crucifixion. He had 3 nails driven in His hands and feet. Here was God's Son, our Savior, bleeding and dying on a cross and all the while loving those that had put Him there. From the cross He prayed and ask God to forgive those who did this to Him "because they no not what they do". What amazing love! Around 3pm, darkness fell upon the land, Jesus then cried out in a loud voice and said "It is accomplished", He breathed His last. These are the events of what we call Good Friday. Yes, that is pretty harsh and you might wonder why call it good. Because He took that death from you and me. Trust me, it is hard but it is good and I am so very thankful! Sunday morning - Praise God for Easter Sunday morning! Some of the women were going to prepare His body for proper burial and when they arrived this is the scene that greeted them. The heavy stone rolled across the entrance to His tomb was gone, thrown several feet away. A man in a bright, shining robe asked them who they were looking for. They replied, Jesus of Nazareth. He said, "He is not here. He is RISEN, just as He said He would." They ran back to the disciples and told them. They ran to see for themselves and also found the empty tomb.

You see, Jesus had to become sin so that you and I might be able to spend eternity with God in Heaven. God loves us that much! Jesus died, was buried and was raised from the dead to be our living Sacrifice. His blood makes us clean! It is by His blood we are made new. It is through Him we receive our salvation. Jesus beat death...He beat evil on that day and WE WON! Praise God, Jesus is RISEN!