Easter. One day that changes everything.
A lot happened in one day…
The council accused
The crowd yelled “Kill him. Crucify him!”
The sign was written “Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews”
The Cross was carried
Nails were pounded
DARKNESS came, utter darkness.
The curtain tore in two
Jesus breathed his last breath
Blood and water spurted from his side
The Perfect One, who knew no sin, was sacrificed.
The tomb was filled.
The tomb was empty?
Jesus is alive!
One day changes everything.
The price is paid
The perfect sacrifice is made
Sin is atoned
The way to God is secure
A new family is created
The adoption document is signed
The sting of death is removed
The power of death is broken
Evil is conquered
And eternal life touches earth.
Now that’s power!
One day changed everything, but that same power is available every, single day here and now.
Here is my question for you and I – Are we trusting that resurrection power today?
My plea is particularly to Christians, born-again followers of Jesus. Did you just trust this resurrection power to save you, or are you continuing to trust this resurrection power for God’s on-going work in your life and in the world around you?
Here are four areas in my own life where I see it is super easy to start trusting in my own power instead of trusting in God’s on-going resurrection power. (Check out Galatians 3:3, one of my favourite, and also most challenging verses in the Bible.)
These are four areas, as I look around at churches and my brothers and sisters in the faith, I’m concerned we’ve become stagnant or shrunk back. Dearest friends/family, we’ve got all the power of Jesus’ resurrection on our side as we engage in these four areas! What’s stopping us?
One day can change everything. In each of these four areas, I have a challenge for you to do one day this week. As you try these ideas know God’s power is with you and one day really can change everything.
1. In my own life and heart – I cannot save myself. I cannot save anyone else. It is really hard to change stuff about myself I don’t like. I’ve tried and tried in my own power, but in my own strength it is really hard to root out anger, solve my unforgiveness, change how I like to spend my money, change my attitude that I KNOW, I know the right answer to someone else’s problem… When I trust and invite God’s power and help everything changes. God’s resurrection power is not just power for salvation (to begin a relationship with God), it is power to keep on saving you and me, to keep on transforming us and to keep on lining up our lives with the ways & mission of Jesus every day. Trusting in Jesus’ resurrection power in my own life makes my faith about so much more than showing up for an hour on Sunday. It is recognizing what attitudes, actions, thoughts, practices, habits, hang-ups… I need to put to death in Jesus. Furthermore, through trusting in Him and His power, it is raising to life new characteristics, habits, attitudes, and actions in me. It is slowly but surely allowing Jesus’ power to continue to work in and through me to line-up every area of my life with God’s ways.
Put this into practice one day this week – spend silent time with God answering this question about yourself “How’s my heart?” Ask God “Is there anything in me that is out of whack with You and needs attention?” “Is there any area of my life that needs to line-up more with Your ways, God?” Listen to what comes to mind. Jot it down. Ask God’s resurrection power to help change that in your life. Write down ideas of what needs to change and your first steps to seeing that change. (Hint – it usually starts with a confession of where we’ve got it wrong or been trying to do it our own way.)
2. In joining God in our neighbourhoods – God’s resurrection power means you can have confidence to walk in this confusing world, knowing your faith is based on fact, and God’s power. God’s Spirit is in you, as a believer. If God beat death and sin, nothing in your neighbourhood scares Him! You can join God’s work in your neighbourhood knowing He cares for the sick, dying, confused, hurting, grieving, broken, downtrodden, “perfect”… AND He’s already won the victory for them. He’s already shown us all those things will be set right by Him. When you join God’s work in your neighbourhoods and networks, you are not trusting in your own power to help people, healing people, give people peace…you are trusting God’s alive and His power is working to reveal His peace, healing, and reconciliation to them. God will reveal Himself and bring Himself up in your network and neighbourhoods as you build connections and make yourself available to others.
Put this into practice one day this week – Spend one day intentionally building on a connection with a non-Christian (and someone that is not a family member either) in your networks/neighbourhoods. You should have no other motive than spending time with them and getting to know them. Trust God’s presence and power is there. God knows how and when to bring Himself into the friendship. Here are a few ideas for spending time together – get outside in your yard and talk to neighbours or invite everyone to an easter egg hunt in your yard (or nearby park), invite someone for a walk/hike, invite non-Christian/non-family in for a meal, go together for your first ice cream cone of the season…
3. In dealing with injustice – Christ has power over evil, death, corrupt systems, and sinful motives. We see this all in His last hours, His death and His resurrection. When you work to right wrongs in our world, God’s resurrection power is on your side. We know what God is up to in the world, He’s righting, wrongs, He’s healing injustices, He’s reconciling all things to Himself. He’s working to line-up everyone and everything with His good Kingdom. Trust God’s resurrection power here!
Put this into practice one day this week – Spend one day (or at least one hour) learning about and lending a hand to a justice issue. Invite God’s resurrection power into that situation. Here are a few ideas: stand up for refugees in your community (e.g. listen to their story, work with them to bring additional family members to Canada, build a connection that will lead to work…), stand up for girls caught up in the sex-trade, find out why kids are getting bullied at your local school(s) and stand up for them, learn about and stand with the poor in your area, build a connection and relationship with those at a local shelter, find out about intimate partner violence in your area and lend a hand to those facing these difficult situations…
4. In our churches – Let me just be blunt, in many of our churches I’ve detected a defeatist attitude lately. Dear, dear friends, Christ is raised. He is alive! You’ve got all hope and power on your side. Do not shrink back. The Kingdom is advancing. The Kingdom is breaking in here and now…including in your church, including in your neighbourhood, including in our world. How might you re-join God’s mission outside the walls of your church, trusting His resurrection power is with you?
Put this into practice one day this week – Make a change in your church for the sake of reaching lost people you are not currently reaching. Another idea is to gather a small group of church people and do something together simply to bless the people in the neighbourhood around your church.