Sunday, March 23, 2008

Living the Resurrection

"The do it yourself, self-help culture of North America has so throughly permeated our imagination that we ordinarily don't give attention to the biggest thing of all - resurrection. And the reason we don't is because resurrection isn't something we can use or control or manipulate or improve on."

Eugene Peterson, from Living the Resurrection pg 13

I LOVE Easter. It's my favorite holiday by far. For us, living away from our families means that it's not a real "family" day. There's no real distraction with shopping and gifts either like there is with Christmas. No real commercialism. It's about Jesus, His resurrection, and being with others who feel that way too in worship of our Risen Lord.

Every year I go into my role as pastor and teacher thinking "If I can just get them to understand and believe, believe and understand - then everything is different - everything CAN change.

When I was looking through the Scriptures this year, I came across this.

32 The whole congregation of believers was united as one— one heart, one mind! They didn't even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, "That's mine; you can't have it." They shared everything. 33 The apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Master Jesus, and grace was on all of them.

Acts 4:32-33 (MSG)

Right there - right in the center of their everyday God-blessed life - was the resurrection. They used it much like a diver uses a springboard to propel their faith to do amazing things. Christ had risen - just as He said. Because He had, everything was possible. We look at the cross and in our 21st century view, see that as the center of everything for the early church.


It was the resurrection.

10 If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we're at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life! 11 Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!

Romans 5:10-11 (MSG)

The resurrection was the ultimate reminder of God's power AND His love. They reveled in it, rejoiced because of it, lived in it - everyday. The life after the resurrection is full of possibilities through the power of God.

14-15 God's Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!
This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?"

Romans 8:14 (MSG)

It provided a bulwalk against all the hazards and hardships that the early Christians faced, and provided them with a glimpse of God's glory and His grace. It was motivation enough to endure, but not just endure - to undergo the worst - and STAND.

31 I look death in the face practically every day I live. Do you think I'd do this if I wasn't convinced of your resurrection and mine as guaranteed by the resurrected Messiah Jesus? 32 Do you think I was just trying to act heroic when I fought the wild beasts at Ephesus, hoping it wouldn't be the end of me? Not on your life! It's resurrection, resurrection, always resurrection, that undergirds what I do and say, the way I live.

1 Cor 15:31-32 (MSG)

So friends, LIVE THE RESURRECTION! You've been given not just a new lease on life, but a new life today and a new life tomorrow and beyond. You've been led from prison cells into the wide open spaces of God's love and eternal power. Look up!

1 So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. 2 Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ— that's where the action is. See things from his perspective.
3 Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life— even though invisible to spectators— is with Christ in God. He is your life.

Col 3:1-3 (MSG)

Join with me to see where our freedom takes us - where this incredible opening we have in the veil of this life leads us into resurrection life today, tomorrow, and the days after that.

Resurrection. Just LIVE It!

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