“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade.” ~1 Peter 1:3-4
Everything hangs on the resurrection. Every blessing God intends for us to receive comes through Jesus’ resurrection. Forgiveness of every sin, the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit, eternal life with him in glory – all of it comes through Jesus’ resurrection. It is the foundation of our faith, the energy behind our hope, and the source and sustenance of our very lives. It’s everything!
If the physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus did not happen, then Christianity is worthless and church is a joke. If Jesus is not alive today and reigning in glory at the right hand of God, then he is not even a good teacher; he is a liar and a fraud. If Jesus is not raised, then Christianity is not even a good way to live; it’s a scam and it’s evil. If Jesus is still in a grave somewhere in Palestine, then death is not conquered and we have no hope and we are to be pitied more than anybody on earth.
But Jesus is raised! And he is reigning! And he is interceding! And he is coming back! And we do have faith and hope and eternal life! And we do have forgiveness and salvation and confidence and immortality and immeasurable joy and everlasting peace!
The angels announced it, the apostles saw it, and we believe it and proclaim it: Jesus the Christ is risen from the dead and everything for us and for this world is going to be good and right forever!
A gargantuan thank you to all the wonderful volunteers at the Civic Center, our area’s public health officials, and our city leaders for making Amarillo the vaccination destination of the world! Carrie-Anne, Whitney, and I received our second COVID-19 shots today and we are set! The operation was smooth both times, no appointments, and no waiting. The only waiting has come now, wondering which one of us gets sick. And how sick. The suspense is killing us.
All four downtown churches came together for a Maundy Thursday worship service last night at Polk Street United Methodist Church, continuing a tradition that began with the prayerful formation of our “4 Amarillo” partnership eight years ago. Attendance was about half of what it’s been in the past; we were all pretty spread out in Polk Street’s beautiful sanctuary and lots of us were wearing masks. We didn’t walk down to the front to receive communion as is our practice; we were handed those sad little pre-packaged kits to wrestle with in our seats. But, still, every time we gather across our denominational lines for worship and service in the name of our Lord Jesus, it is a tremendous blessing and privilege. Our “4 Amarillo” events are the highlights of my every year. I remain thankful to God for these opportunities that, I realize, not many Christians get to experience. And I never take it for granted.
I was honored by God to preach last night’s message from the account of the Last Supper in the Gospel of Mark. In this telling of the story, Jesus declares to his disciples that one of them will betray him and, one by one, it says, they ask him, “Surely not I?” Last night we focused on turning that question into a statement of loyalty and allegiance to our Lord. It’s not a question mark for us, it’s an exclamation point!
One of you is going to betray me. Surely not I!
Not me, Lord! Not us, Lord! Not tonight! Not tomorrow! Not ever!
Increase my faith, Father, yes. Strengthen my resolve, Lord, yes. Yes, Holy Spirit, give me power to live more fully for Christ, to be with Christ and for Christ. May everything I say and do and think be in the name and manner of Jesus from right now until his day of eternal glory.
May this be our prayer and may this be our commitment. One of you is going to betray me. Surely not I!
The name change from Fox Sports Southwest to Bally Sports Southwest would make more sense if they carried any teams that were worth betting on.
The Day of Resurrection has dawned upon us, the day of true light and life, wherein Christ, the life of believers, arose from the dead. Let us give abundant thanks and praise to God, that while we solemnly celebrate the day of our Lord’s resurrection, he may be pleased to bestow on us quiet peace and special gladness; so that being protected from morning to night by his favoring mercy, we may rejoice in the gift of our Redeemer.
~ Mozarabic Sacramentary
“Hope doesn’t spring from logical, scientific, and rational deductions about the ‘facts.’ Science is useless in the Valley of Dry Bones. I love a good space documentary as much as the next person, but quasars and black holes, as wondrous as they are, provide zero hope to the people in prison. Facts are dry bones… Hope comes from the outside.”
~Richard Beck, Hunting Magic Eels