by Brock Benson
For those of you reading this blog I imagine that you either worshiped at Revive or were gathered in worship somewhere yesterday, the greatest day there is to celebrate. Yesterday was an amazing celebration of the hope that we have in Jesus that he defeated death. And I don’t want to diminish that fact at all. Easter means once and for all we can have constant community with God through Jesus. Easter means death doesn’t win after all. The grave doesn’t have the final say. God does! Man, I am still fired up about the truth of the empty grave and I hope you are too!
However one thing I have experienced in the midst of my Christian journey (and perhaps you have too) is that sometimes with Easter and other Christian holidays all the energy we put into celebrating them we get what I like to call the holiday hangover. You know what I mean? It’s that feeling where we are left wanting more of what we celebrated but understanding that now we’re back in the race once again and God’s got a mission for us.
As we look into the Bible what happened after Jesus walked out of the grave was he began the heavenly Kingdom by defeating death. Yet the Bible still speaks of the complete, realized, full kingdom fulfillment is still yet to happen. Yes death was defeated and we must rejoice because it is that singular hope which gives strength to keep fighting on in our daily walks. But the struggle for the disciples really began once the stone was rolled away. Wouldn’t it have been of nice if they and every Christ follower was taken up to Heaven in fire like Elijah? Yes! But that wasn’t the case. God left them with the mission of the great commission. Yet there is a great promise to cling to within Matthew 28. Yesterday at Revive we talked a lot about the truth of Easter as it’s seen in Haggai 1:13. The same phrase in that passage appears in Matthew 28:20 where Jesus says “I am with you”. Such an amazing promise!
So as you carry on the course God has given you this Monday after Easter, be reminded that the Kingdom is not fully here yet. We have a mission to carry on. It’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. But press on and fight through the holiday hangover. Grace and Peace.
by Phil Baker
Here comes Peter Cottontail, visiting Revive church! Most people find Revive church through PDO or one of our children’s events. And, let’s face it, Easter is big with the kiddos! This means we will definitely have a new family or two in our midst Sunday morning. So be a good egg and make them feel welcome. Here’s 3 ways to do that…
1. Don’t be shy.
This is one of the most heavily attended Sundays. We will have many here for the first time. You don’t need to be a trained greeter. Just start by asking how they found Revive and tell them what you love about your church.
2. Know your church.
If a family comes in and wants to bring their kids to Children’s Church, point it out to them. Or, better yet, use the Publix method and walk them there. If you don’t know where that is…well, come on, our building isn’t that big! Just listen for the kids’ laughter! And don’t forget to point out the bathrooms, water fountains, chalk wall and petting zoo on your way. (Ok, I made that last one up.)
3. Sit somewhere different.
We all have our favorite spot. But a visitor doesn’t know who sits where. Think of this as an opportunity to see how the worship team sounds from the other side of the sanctuary. And if you strike up a conversation with a visitor before the service, go ahead and sit next to them during the service. This will make them feel more at home and you will become their default Revive ambassador.
by Brock Benson
Recently in my time with the Lord I have been working through the book of Ecclesiastes. Fair warning this book is a challenge as Solomon writes some pretty deep things and asks some pretty deep questions. However I still believe it’s a great book of the Bible to read if you’re wanting to hit “reset” in your heart and seek God’s face more earnestly once again.
One of the passages that came up as I was reading a few days ago was Ecclesiastes 8:2-4 which says “I say: Keep the king’s command because of God’s oath to him. Be not hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand in an evil cause, for he does whatever he pleases. For the word of the king is supreme, and who may say to him “What are you doing?” One of the phrases that hit me hard in that passages was do not take your stand in an evil cause. Frankly this idea seems like an impossibility given our current political climate. Evangelicals are split like never before on this subject and it has baffled me to see what has transpired in the world of social media in this arena.
I am not going to use this post as a platform to endorse any candidate or any party. That is not my place as a pastor to do so. However my simple plea would be for us to be close enough in our walk with the Jesus that we can readily identify evil and avoid standing with it. This is much easier said then done. Godspeed.
by Phil Baker
Call me a bad Christian, but I’ve never seen The Passion of the Christ. I just don’t know that watching Jim Caviezel get beaten to a pulp would increase my faith. But it’s all over TV and in many churches this time of year. I just don’t have the stomach for it and I don’t begrudge anyone who does.
But recently my Connection Group was discussing Jesus’ torture and death and we discovered something interesting. Crucifixion was such a tortuous and painful ordeal, they actually had to come up with a whole new word to describe it – “excruciating”. “Ex” meaning “out of” and “cruciatus” is Latin for “the cross”. Now, the cross has become the symbol for Christianity which is ironic since it comes from such a barbaric Roman practice. But it is from Jesus’ torture that Christians get their strength. It is from his death that we draw our faith.
Following Jesus can be difficult at times. And it can even be downright painful sometimes. But when we see that symbol of the cross, we are reminded that our salvation comes “out of the cross”.