Jesus Is (Still) Alive! (Easter Series)

Jesus Is (Still) Alive! (Easter Series)

This past weekend we celebrated Good Friday and Easter.

We celebrated the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus,
For the payment of our sins,
And to bring us back into fellowship with the Father.

The consequences of this are not only eternal, but affect our day to day lives as we are now brought back into a life that is filled with the Spirit and to be surrendered to God as a living sacrifice.

As we exit the Easter season, it’s easy to forget what a wonderful thing happened that very special weekend.

So, I encourage you to pause and reflect on this past weekend and consider what areas in your life are still not surrendered to Jesus, Who lived, died, was buried, and rose again – for you.

Consider what areas of your life He wants to redeem or change,
Consider what areas of your life He wants you to surrender.

Your thought life,
Your priorities,
Your time,
Your money,
All of you.

Easter wasn’t meant to be a weekend event.

It was a moment of history that was meant to transform your life each and every day, for the rest of your life and into eternity.

Below are the posts I put up on each of these 3 special days. I encourage you to reflect on this past weekend and don’t miss what God wants to do in your life today.

Because Jesus rose on Easter Sunday,
But He is still alive and working today.

Here are the posts from this past weekend:

Good Friday

Transition Saturday

Resurrection Sunday

Resurrection Sunday (Easter Series)

Resurrection Sunday (Easter Series)

Two days ago was Good Friday.
Yesterday was Transition Saturday.
And today…

Today is Resurrection Sunday (Easter).

The day of hope,
New life,
New beginnings.

The day of restoration between us and God.

On Good Friday, the check was written to pay our debt,
And On Resurrection Sunday, the check was cleared and deposited.

THIS is the day that matters more than any other.

Paul made it clear in 1st Corinthians that Jesus’ resurrection is the single most important piece in the Christian faith:

“And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”

1st Corinthians 15:14

“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”

1st Corinthians 15:17

Paul continues with this logic to say that if Jesus did not raise from the dead, then we ought to be pitied above all other people for putting our hope and lives in this false belief. (1st Corinthians 15:19)

The resurrection is the crux of everything for followers of Jesus.

It’s why we have hope beyond this life (Titus 1:2)
It’s why we believe we have the right to be God’s children (John 1:12)
It’s why we believe we have power beyond ourselves to become more like God (Titus 3:6)

And so much more.

It all centers around the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

There’s so much more to say, but you’ve probably heard so much of it.

If you’re looking for a helpful tool to share this Good News (the Gospel) with someone, you should check out the 3 Circle Evangelism Training at this link. It’s one of the simplest and most understandable ways to explain the Gospel in a way that people relate to that I’ve seen.

And as you celebrate Easter today, here’s some lyrics from a song by Phil Wickham that I think captures the amazing moment of Jesus’ resurrection.

May you live in the light of Jesus’ resurrection.

And until He returns.

Then came the morning that sealed the promise
Your buried body began to breathe
Out of the silence, the Roaring Lion
Declared the grave has no claim on me
Then came the morning that sealed the promise
Your buried body began to breathe
Out of the silence, the Roaring Lion
Declared the grave has no claim on me
Jesus, Yours is the victory.

Living Hope, Phil Wickham

Transition Saturday (Easter Series)

Transition Saturday (Easter Series)

Yesterday was Good Friday.
Tomorrow is Resurrection Sunday (Easter).

But today.
Today is Transition Saturday.

The day between the grief and the joy,
Between the sorrow and the rejoicing,
Between death and new life.

Many of us put great emphasis on Good Friday and on Easter (of course).

But what about Saturday?

Consider how Saturday must have felt.

They woke up that morning wondering if it was all a dream… hoping it was a dream… wishing it was a dream.

But their nightmare pressed on.

8am became 9am.
9am became 10am.
And Jesus was still dead.

Maybe you have experienced something similar.

Maybe you’ve had a death of a loved one,
Or some news that tore you apart,
Or something caused your whole world to crumble.

And then there was the next day,
And nothing changed.

And the next day,
Still nothing changed.

That’s what this Saturday felt like.

The realization setting in,
The stages of grief beginning,
As the rest of the world continued on around them.

The rest of the Jewish people were remembering how they had been delivered from Egypt through passover,
But the disciples were still processing the fact that their deliverer had just been murdered.

The Beauty of Transition Saturday

Consider this: Jesus didn’t need to stay dead on Saturday.

He could have risen on Saturday just as easily as Sunday.

But consider just some of the beauty and imagery He has given us by delaying His resurrection.

1. Transition Saturday is on the Sabbath: the day of rest

When God gave the command for Israel to rest on the Sabbath, He gave two different reasons.

One reason is that God gave them an example in that He created the universe in six days and then rested on the seventh (Exodus 20:8-11).

But the other reason reveals much more of His intention.

He tells the Children of Israel that they are resting to remind themselves that they were no longer slaves in Egypt and therefore, get days to rest (Deuteronomy 5:12-15).

Consider this: as Jesus laid in the tomb on Saturday, the disciples had the opportunity to remember why the Sabbath existed: to remind them of their deliverance – and the state they were now in: freedom.

In the same way, as we reflect on the new life and freedom we have through the cross and resurrection even in our transition periods and days.

Free from slavery of sin,
Free from shame and condemnation,
Free from death,
Free from fear.

Freedom in Christ. John 8:36.

May Transition Saturday remind you of your freedom in Christ.

But wait… there’s more.

2. Transition Saturday reminds us that we are to wait for Jesus’ return

One of the most popular reflections I’ve seen regarding Transition Saturday is that we, the Church, are in a transition much like the disciples were on Saturday.

Our sins are dead,
But we’re not in heaven yet.

Our salvation has come,
But the final culmination of God’s plan isn’t complete.

So, whenever you go through a trial, or suffer in any way
You can look to Transition Saturday,
And trust in the promise that just like Sunday came,
So too will Jesus return and make all things right.

3. Transition Saturday reminds us that God is working even when we don’t see it for a long time

Although our times of waiting are generally longer than a single day, this pause in the story reminds us that God is still working, even when He seems silent.

For the past 3 years, Jesus had been on the scene doing miracles and teaching.

In just one more day, Jesus will rise from the grave proving He is God and that the payment He made for us on Friday is true and sure.

But today, on Saturday, God seems absolutely still and even absent.

But rest assured: He was still working.

Because sometimes God chooses it best to wait before the next act in the story.

Maybe you’re waiting, and God feels distant, or absent.

Be rest assured, He is working, and what He has planned will come to pass.

Even in our waiting, God is still working behind the scenes.

4. Transition Saturday is at the end of the week, making completion for a new thing to begin on Sunday, the beginning of the next week

The Sabbath, as mentioned above, closes out the week and is meant to be a day of rest and pause.

But Sunday is the day of new beginnings.

By allowing for Transition Saturday, God reminds us to rest, but He also reminds us that new things are coming.

The Gospel is the Good News that God has provided new life to our dead ones,
And what better way to remember that than on the first day of the new week.

This is also why Christianity has classically met on Sundays, even though we stem from the Jewish practices and history which celebrated Saturday as holy.

Because Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday,
Our new life was given to us on Sunday,
And that was made possible by the waiting that happened on Saturday.

I hope you take some extra time today to reflect on Transition Saturday.

I hope this post encourages you in whatever transition or waiting period you might be in right now.

And most of all, I hope it brings you nearer to the One Who made all of this possible.

Who paid our price,
Who died for our sins,
Who was buried,
Who rose again,
Who has given us new life,
Who continues to live alive and well today,
And Who desires to have you surrender your life wholly to His,
As that’s the relationship we were created for.


Good Friday (Easter Series)

Good Friday (Easter Series)

Today is Good Friday.

A day where we… celebrate … the death of God.

It’s crazy to think about it in those terms.

Celebrating — death.

And, yes, we call this good Friday because we know the whole story.

We know that Sunday is coming.

But rather than jumping straight to the resurrection,
I encourage you to slow down and rest in Friday.

The chaos of Jesus being ripped from His disciples,
The injustice of His trial and death,
The fear of His followers,
The hopelessness of the situation – from their perspective.

Consider the death of Jesus.
The payment for your sins and mine and the whole world.

I think if we rush to Easter Sunday too quickly, we run the risk of diminishing its impact as well.

So reflect on what Good Friday must have felt like,
On that first “Good” Friday.

Maybe you’re going through something difficult right now.
Consider how this might be a “good” day as well.

How God might be using the trials and destruction and even death in your life,
To bring about a good you know nothing about.

Because, as I’ve written about before,
Our God turns trials into triumphs.

God turned Jesus’ death on Good Friday,
Into His resurrection on Sunday,
And salvation for us all.

So let the truth of the ultimate Good Friday speak into your life today.
Into the eternal meaning of your salvation through Jesus,
And also into the immediate suffering or trials you may be experiencing.

As you reflect, I encourage you to also watch this YouTube video. It’s pretty old (as you’ll see) but it captures the heart of what Good Friday must have felt like and I think it may help you in your reflection today.

Becoming Empty For God To Fill You

Becoming Empty For God To Fill You

A few weeks ago, I wrote about “What Would Happen If We Fully Surrendered To God?” in reflection on a D.L. Moody quote.

As I wrote it, another quote of His came to mind that I couldn’t shake and felt was the perfect follow up:

“I firmly believe that the moment our hearts are emptied of selfishness and ambition and self-seeking and everything that is contrary to God’s law, the Holy Spirit will come and fill every corner of our hearts; but if we are full of pride and conceit, ambition and self-seeking, pleasure and the world, there is no room for the Spirit of God. I also believe that many a man is praying to God to fill him, when he is full already with something else. Before we pray that God would fill us, I believe we ought to pray that He would empty us. There must be an emptying before there can be a filling; and when the heart is turned upside down, and everything that is contrary to God is turned out, then the Spirit will come…”

D.L. Moody

To put this idea into a bit-sized summary:

If we desire to be filled more with God’s Spirit,
We have to be empty of the things that are not of God.

As a note: I believe that all Christians are filled with the Spirit of God at the time of salvation, but that our sanctification process (becoming more like and nearer to Jesus until we reach heaven) is what D.L. Moody means by being more “filled” with His Spirit. That the idea of being “filled more” with God’s Spirit is more about empowerment and more surrender to God and His Spirit and not regarding salvation.

This idea of further emptying ourselves of things that are not of God is complemented with how there are so many verses that tell us to focus on “things above, and not on things below” (Colossians 3:2) or to dwell on good things (Philippians 4:8), or to not be drunk with wine but filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).

Because when we’re full of something,
We can’t be filled with something else.

When we’re full of things that are not of God,
We can’t be filled more completely by God.

The writer of the book of Hebrews puts it another way:

“Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”

Hebrews 12:1

When we cling to other things (and are full of other things)
They keep us from fully pursuing and following Jesus (and being filled more fully by His Spirit)

Have you been praying for God to fill you with His Spirit?
Maybe it’s time to complement those prayers with additional surrender in your life.

Surrender is an ongoing practice and journey that God has us all on,
And it won’t be over until heaven.

So, what area do you need to surrender in?
What area do you need to let go?
What/who are you clinging to?
What/who are you “filled” with?

Give it all to Jesus.
Surrender fully to Him and His plan.
And may you be able to cling to Him all the more,
And enjoy even more of His Spirit in your life.

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