Easter is Here!

They had seen him die.  They had watched in horror as his tortured body gasped and gurgled it’s last breath. They saw his skin change color, his jaw go slack and his eyes set.  Still, lifeless, they knew that the person they had followed and loved was a stranger to them now. No sparkle in the eye, no grin or laughter, no knowing look.  Just a shell; a grizzly mannequin hanging like an effigy of all their hopes and dreams.

When all hope is gone, when dreams and loves have run through your fingers like sand, when you slump to the wall and whisper “it’s broken, it will never be right again”, God has one final word for you.

RESURRECTION!

Look in wonder at wide open horizons of hope that resurrection reveals. God reveals that he’s the God of NEW BEGINNINGS, and no matter what we say is plausible or rational or scientifically viable, God winks and reminds us those are not the adjectives that describe a deeper magic.  Resurrection reminds us that God is God and the possibilities are endless as life passes through his hands.

No one expected this. During those three days not one disciple suggested that maybe Jesus would be back. Why would they? This is unheard of, unthinkable, impossible. Yet there he was. He had passed through the grave and come out the other side in a whole new condition of existence.  Sometimes our hopes and dreams have to have the mark of the cross on them. Sometimes we have weep and bury them, only to discover they were really the seeds of a whole new answer and purpose we hadn’t anticipated. Flowers that are different from the picture on the package, but are far more wonderful than we could have conceived of.

This is the wonder of Easter.

I hope you can come out and celebrate with us at some point this weekend…or for everything we’re doing!  Here’s what we have going on:

FRIDAY @6:30 pm, APRIL 22nd: We’re having a special GOOD FRIDAY BURNING HOUSE service.  We’re going to have elements of the Seder (the Passover meal) for you to sample, and we’re going to talk about the correlation between the Seder and Jesus’ instructions to us concerning the communion.  There’ll be music and praying for each other and hanging out and laughing and maybe crying…all the stuff connected with human beings reaching for the Divine.

EASTER SUNDAY @6 AM: The Dawn Patrol Sunrise Service!  GET UP! GET STOKED! HE’S ALIVE!! Easter morning we are going to meet on the beach for a time of worship, reflection and prayer as we begin the day where we remember that Jesus rose from the dead and changed everything forever.  If that’s not a reason to get up early, I can’t imagine what is. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket. We’ll be meeting at the corner of Oriole and Gulf drive on Panama City Beach (off of Thomas Dr).  Here’s a map

EASTER SUNDAY, 9-11 AM: Come celebrate Easter as we read and explore John 20:10-20, 24-31.  It’s the story of a guy named Tom…someone I consider a soulmate.  We’re going to look at his journey from honest doubt to real faith.  Have you ever struggled with doubts and questions concerning the claims the Bible makes?  We don’t need to be afraid of doubt, and especially don’t feel shame.  Tom is our guide through those times we ALL have.  What do you see in this story?  What does it inspire in you?

Ok…well….long update, but worth it! Hope to see you at some point this weekend!

Honest Doubt When We’re Disappointed

Me, myself and againThis Sunday, we’ll be returning to our study in the Gospel of Luke, and we’ll be reading vs 18-35.

John the Baptist reappears in our narrative.  We read back in Luke 3:19 that Herod, Rome’s puppet king over Palestine had put John in prison because he was publicly speaking against his marriage to his brother’s wife.  While he is sitting in jail, awaiting the rise of the Messiah/King/Conquerer…he hears stories about Jesus being nice to tax collectors, and healing servants of Roman officers…and he is suddenly and quite understandably, nagged by doubts about Jesus being the Messiah.

How does Jesus respond to John’s obvious doubt and concern?  Do John’s doubts influence Jesus’ summary of John’s ministry?  What is the basis for John’s doubts…why does  he begin to doubt Jesus?  What can we learn from that as we examine our own struggle with doubt?

Those are some of the things we’ll be looking at on Sunday.  Hope you have a great Memorial Day weekend, and please don’t forget to pray for the families of those who have been lost in our country’s wars.