No Fooling: Christ is Risen

When I first tried to find the date for Easter this year, and looked at the calendar on my iPhone, I couldn’t find it. It wasn’t there! By looking elsewhere, I discovered Easter would be on April 1st. When I looked again on my phone, all it listed for April 1st was April Fool’s Day. I couldn’t believe it. Was it an oversight, or intentional?

I found it hard to believe that anyone would intentionally leave the greatest event in history off the calendars, but then I started seeing reports that that was indeed the case. Then I heard that there was quite an uproar about it. I really don’t know what caused it, or what fixed it, but Easter did eventually appear on the calendar.

I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me to discover that there might be forces in the world that want news about the resurrection withheld. The first time it was reported, the soldiers were paid to lie about it. And, of course, we have a spiritual enemy who wants the truth about the resurrection withheld.

In spite of all attempts to erase the resurrection from history, the Good News of a Risen Christ has survived. And with it comes the promise that we too will rise from the dead. The Apostle Paul beautifully tied them together in I Cor.15.

“Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection from the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain…your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.

“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,”

The message from the empty tomb is still declared loud and clear. Christ is risen, He is risen indeed!

God Bless, Rick

When we feel like nothing is wrong

Bob Williamson dropped by the church last week, and told me I hadn’t seen him on Sunday because he had the “green apple quickstep.” Now I can say the same thing to everyone! It was the first time in forty- five years that I’ve had to miss church because of sickness. (Broken ribs from a motorcycle accident don’t count.)

Making the call not to be in the pulpit was even harder than cancelling church because of a snow storm! I waited as long as I could, hoping I could at least show up to preach, but finally had to make the call. A big thank you to Mark for quickly reading over my sermon, and then delivering it so well. “Interestingly” he got one of the biggest laughs from a sermon that I’ve ever heard.

Thanks also goes to Chris Luzio for leading the Sunday evening study for me. It’s good to know the bases are covered when we are out of the game.

Tomorrow I’m scheduled for a volume study to determine the number of seeds to be planted in my prostate. When thinking about the whole process, I came to the realization that it’s not unlike trying to convince someone that they need to trust what the Bible says must be done about sin.

I haven’t had any symptoms that would indicate I have a condition that could lead to death. If not for the elevated PSA, I wouldn’t have had the biopsy, and wouldn’t be taking the drastic measures my doctors say I should take. But why should I take their word for it? I don’t feel like there is anything wrong with me. Sounds a bit like those who don’t think they need to do anything about sin, doesn’t it?

If our life is a mess, and we are in pain, we’re more apt to accept the cure that is offered. When we don’t sense that anything is wrong, it’s harder to believe we have to do anything.

The Bible makes it very clear that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and that the wages of sin is death. The remedy for sin is offered through the cross, but we have to believe we need it, even if we don’t feel the need.

May we all have the faith needed to do what needs to be done.

God Bless, Rick

The Wonderful World of Worship

If everything we do is done in the name of the Lord Jesus, and if all of life is sacred, then everything we do is an act of worship. That was the point I was attempting to make in last Sunday’s message. I hope you got it, and I hope it has given eternal significance to everything you are doing in the workplace, school, home, and everywhere this week. And last week.

As should always be the case, the sermon spoke to me as much as I hope it spoke to you. And even though I wasn’t at work last week, what I was doing should have been as much an act of worship as what you were doing here. And as you know, last week I was at Disney World with the family. I guess that means spending four days on the road, and four days walking 10 miles a day in an amusement park, was an act of worship.

Obviously, spending time with the family can have eternal significance, and it’s easy to see how that can be an acknowledgement of Christ’s lordship and an act of worship. Running from FastPass to FastPass to avoid waiting an hour or more for a two minute ride, does, however, take a little more effort to see as worship.

Giving the whole Disney experience more thought, I did come to the realization that many things at Disney are attempts to re-create what God has created around the world, and to give people the opportunity to get a feel for some of the wonder to be found outside the park. I’d still rather ride a motorcycle up Mt. Evans than ride through Mt. Everest on a roller coaster, but I do have to admit it was a lot of fun. Soarin’ through beautiful parts of the natural world is always exhilarating, but I must also admit the ride on the back of a banshee in Pandora was even better. The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse has been a favorite of mine since Marilyn and I climbed it in Disneyland in the 70s, but as I was climbing down this time I spotted a real kapok tree. A concrete tree is impressive, but I was even more impressed by the fact that they planted a tree next to it that grows fiber for lifejackets. And a flock of macaws flying right over my head is something I’ve never experienced anywhere else.

So yes, I did enjoy what I trust will be my last trip to Disney. And I can even see it as an act of worship. Not that I worship Disney, but I do worship the God who can be seen even there.

God Bless, Rick