Easter

Good Friday and Easter Services

Good Friday

Make plans to join us on Good Friday (04/19) for a family-style service (no children's ministry) from 6:30–7:30pm. We'll continue our journey through Exodus, focusing on chapters 11 and 12 that evening—relating the tenth plague and passover to Christ's work for us on the cross.

Easter Sunday

In order to make room for everyone, we will be holding two services on Easter Sunday.  In addition to our normal, 10:00am service, we are adding an 8:30am service. This additional services is for Easter Sunday only.

Both services will be one-hour in length and will be family-style (no children's ministry).

Join Us

We look forward to remembering and celebrating Christ’s death and resurrection along with you!

And spread the word! This is a great time for you to consider inviting co-workers, neighbors, and family who may not have a church home but would be interested in attending a church service on Good Friday and/or Easter.

A Story of Redemption

For the Christian Church, the Easter season evokes symbols of death, rebirth, and the promise of salvation. Every year, Christians celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection and what it stands for with the understanding that the death and resurrection of Christ mirrors their own “rebirth.” While the means and duration of spiritual rebirth can and do vary tremendously from person to person, the eventual result, a life evidencing the changes that come with knowing Christ, is the same. As the oft-quoted passage from the Gospel of John tells us, “whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” While some throughout history have heatedly debated what constitutes “belief” - and Christ did make clear not all who profess belief actually believe - most would agree that the end result is a changed life that bears the “fruit” of the gospel as it compels Believers to live out its mission and tenets.

The Before

For me, my rebirth elicits a series of contrasts between my life before Christ and my life after Christ. Before knowing Christ, I earnestly believed that my righteousness was of my own doing. I believed in living “uprightly” because of how I thought I would appear to others and because of what I thought I could gain from it. My upright lifestyle, I believed at the time, would help me be esteemed by others and would make me a better candidate for “making it” in school, in jobs, and in my social circles.

Before knowing Christ, my self-made righteousness allowed me to willfully cover up and ignore my sinfulness. Since my righteousness was of my own doing, I frequently bent my self-made rules to suit me in the event I fell short of certain standards. In my own eyes, I was righteous - or better yet, more righteous - because I didn’t swear as much as others, because I studied more diligently than others, because I didn’t go out and drink like others, because I didn’t get angry about the same things as others, because I didn’t lust as openly or in the same ways as others, and so on and so on.

Before knowing Christ I invested myself into my work and image with reckless abandon. For example, I had a love for sports that far surpassed a love of just the game itself, the friendships it fostered, the lessons it taught, or the enjoying the opportunity to witness feats of athleticism. I poured an immense amount of my self-worth into athletics. I embodied the coaching cliche that “you’re only as good as your last performance,” riding the volatility of every good and bad performance as either a validation or indictment of my personal being. In many ways, my deep identification with athletics was a perfect representation of how I approached living – each performance measured how “good” or “bad” I was.

The After

This is just a snapshot of how I used to live and what used to drive me. In the years that have passed since committing my life to Christ, I have seen Him already work changes in my life.

First, my relationship with my sinful fallenness has changed. While almost two decades of self-made righteousness can’t be reversed quickly or easily, I have found great comfort in knowing that my salvation does not rest on “my last performance.” I am still sinful and broken. Very much so. I still wrestle with sins that have followed me from the time before I knew Christ. In fact, knowing Christ has greatly amplified my awareness of my sin now that I realize how short of God’s standards I fall and how shallow and feeble my own self-manufactured standards really were.

However, my fallenness is no longer what defines me. Because of my understanding of the sacrifice that God made for me and all others, I am free to pursue good and resist sin, not as a means for appearing better to others or to appease God via some giant, cosmic scoreboard, but rather as a way to gratefully, diligently, and contentedly serve a loving, merciful God.

A second major change is that knowing Christ has revolutionized my understanding of the Church. Previously, “church” had been a stale service that I attend for about 90 minutes every Sunday (or every other) because my parents went or because I wanted to look good and upright in front of others. “Church,” to me, was just another extra-curricular to join solely for the purpose of enhancing my appearance. Now, however, I understand that the Church is not a building that sits mostly empty six days out of the week but rather it’s a vibrant body of Believers that I am excited to be a part of and share in their experiences as followers of Christ. I am energized by their community and sense of mission, and I look to contribute to its mission of proclaiming the Gospel and living it out. This hasn’t meant that I’ve somehow become more eloquent in talking to others or less awkward in having serious spiritual conversations with others. I’m still the same bumbling conversationalist that I was before knowing Christ. However, when I have (or make) opportunities, I make efforts to make my identity known and speak Christ’s truth into others lives, either through actions, deeds, or both.

A third major change brought by knowing Christ is that God no longer appears as a “celestial killjoy” to me. God was and remains a God of holiness and justice who abhors sin, but I now understand that it is through that holiness and justice that He offers hope to a broken, hurting world, promising us that one day all things will be made right and new through Him. This is possible because God is also a forgiving, loving God. He willingly paid the horrible penalty necessary for humanity to be redeemed and reunited with Him in eternity, and in paying that price and rising again, He defeated the hold that sin and death had had over us. Despite my horrible brokenness (and my tendency to revert to seeing Him as a scowling, disappointed patrol cop), I know that He loves me perfectly and fully. It paints a sharp contrast for a journey I know I’ve only just begun.

Photo by Robert Jinks

Be Happy: Jesus is Alive

As Christians, it’s okay for us to be happy.  In fact, we should be happy. 

Jesus is alive, He has conquered the grave, He has united us with Himself, and though in this world we will have trouble and tribulation, Jesus commands us to be of good cheer (to “take heart”), for He has overcome the world.

Why So Sad?

Within our stream of Christianity, there has been a bit of a reaction (a pendulum-swing, if you will) against the shallow, fake, overly-contrived emotional happiness of the contemporary church.  As with most pendulum swings, however, we’ve over-swung—rejecting the idea of that happiness has a place in the Christian life at all.

As Christians, we stand and affirm the truth that God is good.   We sing that “God is good… all of the time!”  We affirm and believe that Jesus died for our sins, that He reconciled us with God, that He rose from the grave, that we are united with Him in His resurrection, that He has ascended back to heaven, and is preparing a place for us.

We affirm and talk about and re-iterate that the gospel is “good news.”  And yet often times we don’t live as if we’ve heard any good news in weeks.

We worship without smiling.  We pray for change but not contentment.  We talk openly about our sin and our struggles but not our victory or our hope.  We pray for our needs, but don’t bask in His present provision.  We confess but we don’t adore.  We pray but we don’t praise.  

Wrestling for Contentment

It’s easy to be sad.  It’s easy to be discouraged and to point out everything that is wrong that needs to be fixed.  Being a critic or a cynic doesn't take much work.  We have to wrestle for contentment.  We have to wrestle for happiness.

This is a wrestling match that is worth winning.  

Such wrestling and striving doesn’t downplay how hard life can be.  It doesn’t downplay the brokenness and fallenness that we live in.  It doesn’t downplay suffering or pain or loss or depression.  And at the same time it doesn’t elevate happiness as the greatest good thereby negating any benefit that suffering has in this life.

Instead, it should lead us to understand what Paul meant when he said in 2 Corinthians 6:10 that we can be “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing… having nothing, yet possessing everything.”  In some ways, it’s a perspective change.  A change to seeing our lives the way God sees them.  Enveloped in His glorious grace; encapsulated within in His sovereign and glorious plan.

Happy

Beginning Easter Sunday morning and running for two weeks post-Easter, we'll be taking some time as a church to look at what it means to wrestle like this in a series we've titled, Happy: Wrestling for Contentment in Light of the Resurrection.

My prayer is that this series would be transformational corrective to our view of happiness as Christians.

Easter: The Superbowl of the Church World?

On Easter, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. A friend of mine calls Easter Sunday the “Superbowl of the church world.”

As with all metaphors, you can’t apply too much pressure or it will inevitably break. That said, the Superbowl reference does a decent job of illustrating the significance of Easter Sunday in a way that is easy to understand.

Superbowl Sunday is the most anticipated, most popular, and most-watched sporting event in the United States—by a long shot. The NFL season is a long road that leads to this single destination.

Similarly, Easter is the most significant, most anticipated day in the church world.

But why?

Surely Easter baskets can’t hold a candle to Christmas trees loaded with presents! So, what makes the Easter celebration of Jesus’ resurrection so significant?

The Resurrection Is a Miraculous Event

My ninth grade biology teacher began our first day of class by directing our attention to a dead frog floating in a jar of formaldehyde. He promised an automatic “A” to anyone who was able to bring the amphibian back to life.

As you have surely guessed, none of us collected on his offer that year. We all had to earn our grade the old fashioned way.

You see, despite all our medical breakthroughs and scientific advancements, humanity hasn’t managed to find an answer to the problem of death. As the saying goes, nothing is certain but death and taxes. Death is the inevitable, inescapable fate that awaits us all.

This is precisely what makes the resurrection of Jesus so extraordinary and miraculous. Following his crucifixion, Jesus was dead. Lifeless. Just like that frog in the jar in my ninth grade biology class.

The story doesn’t end there, however.

Jesus rose again! He rose in victory over death. This resurrection wasn’t metaphorical or figurative. It isn’t a fairy tale we tell our kids. It was actual. It was physical. It happened. Jesus defeated death.

The Resurrection Is Foundational to the Christian Faith

Not only was the resurrection a miraculous event, but it is also foundational to the Christian faith. In the Bible, the Apostle Paul explains:

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:12–14)

Paul is saying here, among other things, that if Jesus wasn’t raised from the dead, then the Christian faith is in vain. It’s worthless. In other words, if you’re a skeptic looking for the most effective way to undermine the Christian faith, then the resurrection is your point of attack. If Christ wasn’t raised from the dead, then Christianity crumbles.

So, on Easter Sunday Christians are celebrating the very event that defines and upholds their faith.

The Resurrection Is Essential for the Christian Life

The resurrection isn’t merely significant for the Christian faith in general, however, but also for the Christian life in particular.

By faith in Jesus, one is united with Him in His resurrection. Jesus’ victory over death and the grave becomes our victory over death and the grave. Jesus victory over sin and Satan becomes our victory over sin and Satan.

This victory allows the Christian to turn from the sin that once enslaved her and walk in joyful obedience to Jesus. It also gives the Christian hope—a hope that will not disappoint. This hope is the ultimate and eternal answer to the universal problem of death. Through faith in Jesus, we look forward to eternal life in Heaven with Him.

Jesus Is Risen

This Sunday at 10:00AM, 2 Pillars Church will be gathering to celebrate the miraculous resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s going to be a party!

Not a Christian? That’s okay.

If you would like to hear more about Jesus, His resurrection, and what it could mean for you, then I invite you to join us.

Jesus is risen. He is risen indeed!

 

Photo Credit: Onilad