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Jesus Rose!

For over 10 years, probably closer to 15 years, at my previous church, we would host Teen Challenge on Easter Sunday. We advertised to the community, come hear real-life stories of the Resurrection. By the time the students were done sharing their testimonies, there was not a dry eye in the sanctuary. This also meant for 15 years I did not preach on Easter Sunday. Five years ago, when Janet and I first arrived, year one was an Easter skit and 4 years ago was my first time in many years to share the ultimate message of God's love on Resurrection Sunday. We’ve had our largest crowds on Easter Sunday the last three years! 2020 brings new challenges; with the "Stay at Home” statewide order all of us will experience an Easter like never before. In the history of our nation, church congregations have always gathered in their local houses of worship to celebrate Resurrection Sunday. Today brings a new opportunity to still proclaim the greatest story ever told. People all over Northwest Wisconsin still need the power of the Gospel to impact their lives. Even those of us who are followers of Jesus need a fresh touch today. The scriptures tell us God's Holy Spirit has come to live in jars of clay. We are all flawed vessels. In 2020, as we celebrate another Easter Sunday, it will be under completely different circumstances. Let's make sure it's not so much about why we can’t meet together, rather let your words declare a prayer from your heart for salvation to flow as never before. Take time to reflect on the magnitude of the first Easter Sunday some 2000 years ago. His great sacrifice of love covered over our great magnitude of sin. He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed! What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Part of our responsibility as Christ-followers is to help keep the message of Easter clear, concise and current. In the past, if you asked most children of the world what this day is about, they would tell you it is about the Easter Bunny and finding Easter Eggs. This year brings a whole new perspective to traditional Easter activities. In the future, when we look back at this virus crisis, it may bring about the start of more wholesome and genuine family activities. I don’t know this for sure. Yet it is my prayer. Please don’t misunderstand me, there is nothing wrong with “wholesome” activities attached to any sacred holiday; the danger is in the true meaning of the season being replaced or relegated. Here are the facts: an Easter Egg looks beautiful, children love to decorate it and search it out, it can help nourish you, it can bring a measure of joy during the Easter season, but it will never save you from the curse of sin we must overcome. On the other hand, the cross, which suspended Jesus between heaven and earth has never drawn followers to it because of its beauty. Yet in the end, the beauty of the cross is not in its composition, but what it provided each of us in the form of forgiveness. The reality of this Easter is simple…Jesus Rose! Happy Easter!

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