CAN YOU STIL BE AMAZED?
Romans 6: 3-11
LUKE 24: 1-12
April 21, 2019 EASTER
<VIDEO of Pastor Dave standing outside the church.> Standing out here I don’t have anything blocking me from the world. There’s no wall, there’s no door, there’s no stone on the tomb. That is blocking me from Jesus from declaring to the world that HE IS RISEN … HE IS RISEN INDEED!
CHURCH … He is Risen!! <<Listening for church response>>
Yea, let’s celebrate! Let’s Go! Let’s get ready. Because God’s love is evident and ready to take us on. To lift us up! To make us be different people!
Jesus Christ died for us! Jesus Christ lives for us!
Church are you ready … are you read to declare … HE IS RISEN!! <Listening>
My goodness church I feel sooo good today! I could get up and sing with James Brown … I FEEL GOOD … I KNEW THAT I WOULD NOW … my goodness church don’t you feel good? Easter is here … we made it through Holy Week reminded of Jesus’ dying for our sins.
Oh wait; do you remember that Jesus died for your sins? You see church that’s what this whole thing is about. It’s God … you remember God don’t you church? God’s the One … the Mighty One … the ALL MIGHTY ONE … God created the universe; God created every single human being in God’s Holy image so look around because we reflect God in the people we are? Does that amaze you?
Can you still be amazed by God? Can you still be wow’d by faith? By believing? By accepting Jesus as more than just a guy from history.
Boy, oh boy church I can sing and dance like crazy today …WOW, I feel good … and because I know my Scriptures; I know my Bible; I know my Jesus I knew I would feel good now!! I knew EASTER matters on my calendar not for the candy … not for the bunny … not for the flowers but for Jesus … OH MY Church JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN!!!! <HE IS RISEN INDEED>>
Hey, I was looking outside a few minutes ago … there’s a whole world out there that apparently isn’t amazed by Jesus Christ any more! Because there are some folks out there who don’t even show up in church on a day like today … and I bet they aren’t even sensing how Jesus makes us feel nice … Sugar and Spice nice … Incredibly nice … AMAZINGLY NICE!!
Did I mention I want to dance … boy that James Brown song is wrapping me up … SO GOOD. I GOT YOU JESUS!! And, I am still amazed … aren’t you?
Church there is a world out there that today is covered in the Light of Jesus Christ but they are missing it … do you know that there are people out there who won’t even answer if a crazy and excited pastor shouts HE IS RISEN ….
There is a world out there filled with people who have embraced the dark side … they have human blinders to the light shining from the empty tomb. They haven’t rolled away their personal stones that block their eyes and church … can you imagine this … they don’t even want to dance for God. They don’t want to shout and sing for God. They don’t feel good because of God and are not rejoicing all the time because even though God loves them they aren’t giving the love back.
And, church that’s what Easter is about … God’s love … if we let the light shine … it’s such an awesome bright light that today marks the possibility of new beginnings! It’s an awesome day for our faith to get energized again … if we can still be amazed by God … God who created all and loves all. Are you amazed?
It was approximately 40 hours since those gathered under the cross heard the words, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Mary, John and others saw the last breath … they watched the brutal death … a death for the sins of all humanity and this amazing man who healed, who brought back the dead, who fed thousands, and who was a radical who stood up against the leaders who were locked into the laws that preserved their power. He was apparently gone before His time but they had forgotten what He had told them … they had forgotten what Scriptures taught.
They were confused and the Romans wanted to make sure no one added to the confusion so they rolled a massive rock in front of the grave and made sure it was guarded, The Romans didn’t know what was about to occur … Pontius Pilate didn’t know … the Pharisees who insisted the law was better than Jesus didn’t know … those 11 remaining disciples were scared to death about what might happen to themselves and they didn’t know but there on that hillside in Jerusalem where a tomb had been created in the rock it was Sunday morning; the darkness of Friday’s sky forgotten as the sun rose … the chants of hate from the court yard CRUCIFY HIM CRUCIFY HIM almost forgotten history history but the mourning and grief were real and the women who loved Him so much went to the tomb … to prepare His body; to care for Him; to mourn but in the dim light of morning they saw that the stone had been rolled away and the body of Jesus was gone …
But then there was the light and the women were again amazed because these two men in gleaming white declared HE IS RISEN … Church have you been amazed by the empty tomb? Have you experienced the Risen Jesus … or are you too overwhelmed … are the chocolates where your mind is … tomorrow, well tomorrow isn’t a church day is it … can’t be amazed by God on a Monday … Jesus alive … not when the Today show starts my day.
But church those women heard … those women experienced … women the preachers! Women the evangelists! Women bringing the GOOD NEWS and even in today’s world we have some who want to say women shouldn’t preach even though it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women who went to the men who were hiding to declare JESUS IS ALIVE … HE IS RISEN!
Oh my church that does feel good … when I hear HE IS RISEN INDEED I feel gooood!! SO GOOD! I GOT MY JESUS! I can just imagine how amazed Mary Magdalene was when she realized it was Jesus not a gardener … SO GOOD … She had her Jesus back alive … AMAZING … something only God can do.
You might have noticed I am a bit excited today … Holy Week … the season of Lent … for me bring a focus I need. You see church; LIFE … SOCIAL MEDIA … NEWS STORIES … HURTING PEOPLE … DYING PEOPLE … CRIME … HUNGER … PEOPLE NOT BEING WELCOME … wear on me. The world out there causes me all too frequently to want to run and hide but when I hide it seems I lose track of the light of Christ. I am not sure if that happens with any of you too. But, I need to be amazed once in a while … I need to have truth delivered to me with anticipation, reflection, and assurance. I STILL NEED TO BE AMAZED from time to time … and yes, I need God to amaze me. That’s Holy Week … that’s Lent … that’s Easter.
I know on holidays like today its easy to have all so many directions we need to go in but we are in church or watching church online so I have your attention for these brief moments and I need you to consider who you are. Not who your spouse or the person next to you is. I need you thinking about you … and whether you want to relate to God to any degree. I want you to honestly think for a moment whether God matters more than say the Phillies recent slump … have you spent more time worrying about who will step up to get us some victories on the baseball diamond over in Citizens Bank Park than in how you can step up to do something for God’s Kingdom. It’s a serious question friends.
Are you so wrapped up in the political drama of Washington DC that your fingers are always sending TWEETS or you are always searching for the meme that will justify your political position rather than using those fingers to bring food to the poor and searching for a Scripture lesson that will make your faith grow stronger? It does matter … church to me this is a matter of will you be with me in Paradise some day or not type of question.
Jesus spent His last breathing moments dying as a sacrifice for our sins but Paul writes, “don’t let sin rule your body.” If we choose to close the chapter about the cross from our daily lives … if we make Easter about the baskets filled with chocolate … where does Jesus fit in? Does that mean God doesn’t amaze you now … perhaps never did … perhaps you are out there feeling so lost on this Easter as the days go by and you wonder why you can’t dance with abandon for this nebulous God and Jesus we are talking about.
That’s why Easter matters … one of our dear sweet members, Harriet Lawson, in this week’s Bible Study referred to Easter as a new beginning. To some of us who have embraced God for a long time and held Jesus close … we still need Easter’s empty tomb to amaze us again … Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior … the One who we follow … He died on Good Friday but less than 40 hours later the women shouted HE IS RISEN!!!
And, church aren’t you amazed by the power of God and God’s love that God would send Jesus to walk among humanity to clarify what God’s intents are … sort of like the rules of the game of life. Jesus spells them out quite clearly … in the pages we call the Gospels.
But did you hear Paul in his letter … friends, this is the EASTER message and if you are realizing that you need to be close .. that you need to recover … that you have left God along the wayside … then today I encourage you to take a small rock that I have in the baskets here at the altar … yes, it means coming to the front of the church before you leave … but let the stone remind you that you need to be amazed by God … that you need to roll away the stone that has blocked out Jesus light …
Friends Paul wrote, “PRESENT YOURSELVES to God as people who have been brought back to life from the dead.” That’s what Jesus did … he took my sins … he took my curse … He took all that and by dying and rising Jesus gave me life when my future was dark … that’s amazing …
Church Jesus Christ is RISEN!
I feel good … I knew that I would now … I feel nice like sugar and spice now .. so good … so good I got You Jesus …
If you don’t have Him … let’s talk before you leave today or text me … call me … message me … but don’t let this EASTER leave you AMAZED but with questions … AMAZED but too busy to connect with God … let this be the start of a new beginning with Jesus Christ … you will be amazed where a walk with Jesus will take you.
The tomb is empty … God’s light is shining … join with me … go out there and declare as loudly as you can HE IS RISEN … and then dance singing I FEEL GOOD … I knew that I would now … I feel good because God loves me and Jesus Christ came and lived for me … died for us … and rose up out of that tomb and sits with God loving us still!
I will take a stone from a basket … it will be in my office with others as a needed reminder because I need the renewal and the reminder … I hope all of you do too …
FEEL GOOD Friends JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN!