Pastor Linda Settles
Believe it or Not!
Theme for 2023: Faith Forward – The Year of Extraordinary Faith!
Ripley's Believe It or Not! is a franchise founded by Robert Ripley, which deals in bizarre events, and items so strange and unusual that readers might question the claims. The strangest animals of the sea, a fish with two heads, a man who survived a dump truck falling on him. Nowadays it's mostly pictures and a wax museum of celebrities.
And for many people, the resurrection of Jesus was a bizarre event that caused many, including the disciples, to question the claim. Keep in mind that all they had to go by was the women's report that the tomb was empty when they got there. You might’ve thought that that sounded rather bizarre, too. What do you mean the stone was rolled away, the grave was empty, and angels spoke to you?
And sometimes things happen miraculously in our lives and it’s hard to believe that it happened. Like the time you were unemployed for almost a year and then you received three job offers at once! Or you went to an event that you really didn’t want to attend, and you met the love of your life. Coincidence? Luck? Chance? Believe it or not, that’s God! God will show up in your worst moment and reveal His best.
After the Resurrection, Jesus was nowhere to be found. Oh, Mary Magdalene got to see Him, but some of the disciples probably thought, “Mary can be a little dramatic.” Then Jesus showed Himself to two followers on the Emmaus Road. But how can we believe their report? They didn’t even recognize who Jesus was at first! It was a real believe it or not moment for the disciples.
So, in order to show His love for them, and confirm their faith in Him, Jesus came Himself, and gave them all the assurances that they could possibly want or need.
19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors were locked where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After He said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
They didn't get it by hearsay, or second hand, but they became eyewitnesses of the fact that Jesus was alive, raised from the dead, walking and talking to them!
Why was this important? Because they were the ones who would tell it to the world and build the church upon that testimony! And believe it not, you are reading this today because someone told you about the amazing love of Jesus, and how He was crucified, died, and was buried. Then on the third day God raised Him from the dead, and now He sits in glory at the right hand of the Father! That’s a “Believe it or Not” moment that not even Mr. Ripley could recreate!
And it’s a theological teaching that is the basis for the Christian faith. Jesus is alive! His death was not in vain. Not unless we don’t believe it. And even then, that does not make Jesus’ death in vain, but it does call our faith to question. For if you don’t believe in the heart of God’s plan of salvation, how then can one expect to be saved? Believe it…or not.
Join us for worship this Sunday, as we continue to celebrate the season of Eastertide with the message: Believe it Or Not! You can worship in-person or you can also join us online at 10:00am. For online worship go to www.umcgt.org.
HeGetsUs Join us on April 19 and every Wednesday thru May 24 as we talk about the thought-provoking videos that you may have seen as commercials on TV and during the Super Bowl. This will be more of a discussion format, as opposed to a Bible study with books. It’s open to everyone, member or not, anyone who wants to get to know the One who gets us, even when we don’t get ourselves! If you’d like to have a bite to eat, dinner (potluck style) is at 5:45pm and the group goes from 6:30-7:30pm. Lea Doyel is the facilitator.
Stay in the Know! Don’t forget to pick up your monthly church calendar, this month’s Memory Verse Card, and the printed newsletter at the Welcome Center or the Coffee Station. To see the calendar online here’s the link: Church Calendar. Just our way of helping you to stay in the know!
Fellowship & Goodies! Hopefully you’re enjoying the after church fellowship of coffee, cookies, and Bridge Bread treats! Purchasing Bridge Bread is a wonderful way to support the unhoused with a trade and income! And fellowshipping is a wonderful way to make new friends. If you don’t drink coffee, there’s tea and cocoa as well.
“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, so I send you.”