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Fully Alive!

Updated: Apr 4

Easter often seems to be more about whether we get Reese’s Pieces or Cadbury bunnies. New clothes, bonnets, and oh so many eggs! The events surrounding an itinerant teacher from Bethlehem get buried somehow in the celebration of spring and Easter dinners. So, does the resurrection of Jesus really matter?


Is the resurrection that important for the celebration of Easter? Are the events of Jesus’ life relevant to me today? Millions of people throughout history have asked those questions. Before coming to faith in Christ perhaps you asked these questions. And maybe today those questions are still swirling around in your mind.


Why all the fuss about Easter, why does it matter whether or not Jesus arose bodily from the tomb?  I try to live a good life; I am a responsible member of this community and an ethical person.  Why get overly excited about an event that is so many centuries old? If it does matter, if it’s essential to my faith, then what is it about the resurrection that makes a difference in my life?


"Why is this night different from all other nights?"


This is the question which is asked in every Jewish home at Passover.  It is always asked by the youngest child, and it offers an opportunity to explain the rescue of Israel from Egypt.  And we may ask the same thing on the day of Christ’s resurrection, why is this day different from all other days? In the past week we’ve experienced the joy of Palm Sunday, the somberness of Maundy Thursday, and the sorrow of Good Friday. What makes Easter Sunday so different than the other days? The answer is the most important one ever given! 


16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. 17 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. 19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, 

we are of all people most to be pitied.

1 Corinthians 15:16-19


The crux of the cross, and of our faith, lies in Jesus’ resurrection. The Lamb of God who was slain for us, but also the Lion of the Tribe of Judah who now reigns in glory! That’s what we teach, what we preach, what we believe as Christians.


For if that didn’t happen, if it’s all been a lie, then someone would have committed the greatest scam known to humankind! Because over two thousand years after the Resurrection, we are still celebrating it! Do you see why it matters? What you believe about the Resurrection colors your entire faith journey!


Because if life did not continue for Jesus, there is no eternal life for us. Which means that our faith is empty, it’s futile, we’ve all been duped, and we are the most pitiful people on earth! We’ve missed the whole thing – no forgiveness of sins, no salvation, no life everlasting, nothing. 


But the Apostle Paul doesn’t leave things there. He began this chapter talking about the resurrection and if we finish the passage above…


20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. 21 For since death came through a human, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human, 22 for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:20


Jesus IS alive, fully alive! How do we know? Oh, it would’ve been so easy to disprove in the first few years – just show us the body! But no body or remains have ever been found. After all the meticulous care that was taken to seal the tomb, guard the tomb, make sure that no person went in or came out, I have a spoiler alert for you: the tomb was empty! Not only was Jesus’ body not there, but He appeared to the disciples at various times, to over five hundred people at one time, and last of all, as to one untimely born (v8), He appeared to Paul. Jesus is fully alive! That’s the story of Easter. 


So, when you see the eggs think of new life. When you eat the candy think about how sweet Jesus is. And when you eat your Easter dinner, pause and give thanks to the God who loved you so much that He gave His only begotten Son, to live for us, to die for us, and to be raised from the grave for us so that we may have eternal life!  Jesus is fully alive, and since He lives in those who believe, then you, too, are fully alive! Alive to the Spirit! And if you look around, you’ll see signs of new life all around you. Now that’s a Happy Easter!


I hope you can join us on Sunday as we conclude our sermon series Fully, with the Resurrection message: Fully Alive!


Breaking Free! This Wednesday we will begin a new study, led by Pastor Linda, that will build your faith, equip, and empower you to live free and stay free – to be whole, restored, transformed and ready to impact your world with a message of hope. The book, Keys to Freedom, is an 8-week interactive journey with God to explore how we can hear from God and live the victorious lives God meant for us to live! We will have copies of the book on hand this Wednesday. We’ll share dinner together as usual at 5:45pm, and class will be from 6:30-7:30pm. 


Leadership Training for board members and NLDT, Saturday April 13, at Union Memorial UMC. Time: 10am – 1:30pm. Lunch provided.


Journeys of Paul My husband and I will be going on an educational tour of Greece from April 20-27, following some of the footsteps of Paul. So, the month of April will be dedicated to Paul’s journeys. I will preach the first two Sundays and Rev. Rocky Marlowe will preach the last two. Every Sunday in April we will highlight something about Paul, his journeys, and his teachings. And if technology serves us well, you’ll get a video from me on the road with Paul!


Welcome our new Youth Leader! Victoria Grogan is our new Youth Leader. Victoria has a wealth of experience serving children and youth and has already brought energy and great ideas to our team! Welcome to GT, Victoria!


Vision for 2024:

A House United: 

Strong Faith, Strong Families, Strong Future!


Blessings,

Pastor Linda

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