Archive for category: News & Announcements

Sabbath Rest

Categories: News & Announcements, President's E-news

Dear Friends,

Fourth of July—our nation’s birthday—a day that we celebrate, and look forward to having time off. Imagine this situation. A husband comes home after a long day at work, eats dinner, and with a great sigh, says, “I don’t know about you, but I’m beat, I need a break” as he sits in front of the television and falls asleep. Rest is essential for our physical and mental renewal. Yet, so many of us find ourselves feeling fatigued, always tired and worn out. Fatigue is extreme tiredness brought about by not enough rest over a period of time whether from mental or physical exertion or illness. Can you relate to that? Even God understood that we needed a break. In fact, God, Himself, took a break after creating the world. We read in Genesis 2, “And on the seventh day God finished His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all His work that He had done in creation.” (Ge 2:2–3).

Are you making time for a time of rest? Businessman John Battelle writes, “As you grow older, you learn a few things. One of them is to actually take the time you’ve allotted for vacation.” What I’ve learned over time is that people often don’t beg you to take time off, you have to seek it out. Sometimes just a day or even an afternoon of diversion can make a difference in how refreshed we feel.
Here are some fascinating facts about vacations in America:

  • 75% of employees with paid time off didn’t take all of their accrued vacation days.
  • 59 % of working Americans plan to do something job-related while on vacation this summer.
  • 90% of people say the happiest vacations are planned more than a month in advance.
  • 1 in 10 travelers claim they can’t relax while on vacation.
  • Only 45% of Americans take a summer vacation.

Even when we take a vacation we often fail to take time to rest. We don’t seem to know how to rest. The closest we get to rest is restlessness… Often we come back from a vacation more tired than when we left. However, vacations provide an opportunity to reconnect—maybe with your spouse, your children or grandchildren, maybe with siblings or parents or friends. These times of sabbath provide the chance to change things up and break with the routine. Maybe sleep is the real need, or exercise, maybe it’s a time to pursue other hobbies or interests. The staycation has become popular, especially on a tight budget, and it can be a great way to catch up with all the chores you just haven’t had time to do. Many will travel a long way, others not too far. Some will stay in fancy hotels with great service; others will pop up a tent or a trailer and rough it.

Vacations, no matter where we take them, are a great time to reflect on life and all the blessings that God has given us. When God rested on the Seventh day, I suspect it was a day of rejoicing in all He had created. God doesn’t need physical rest, like we do, but He knew we would, so He gave us an example to follow. By the way, I find that I am healthiest when I follow God’s advice! For many rest doesn’t come easily. So many of us were raised with a work ethic that tells us we need to achieve more, build more, do more. Yet, we need time to rest. Maybe your iPhone or computer can illustrate. My iPhone can last only a day, sometimes less than that especially if I am constantly using it. If I fail to recharge it a red, drained battery flashes at me, and eventually shuts off the phone. Then it is useless. It’s not good to me or anyone else. When I am needing to use my phone a lot, I carry an extra power cord to recharge it, sometimes several times, during the day. Our bodies really aren’t much different. There are experts who would tie what we eat to this fatigue, as well as lack of exercise. All of this advice is well meaning, and is meant to strengthen and sustain us with a healthier life. I know when I am well rested I am better equipped to do the things God has called me to do—and so are you!

As important as physical rest is, we also need that spiritual rest. Now, I don’t mean by that a break from the church! In fact, it’s just the opposite. We need to be fully engaged in God’s Word and Sacrament. Isn’t it interesting that Luther writes, in the Small Catechism, speaking of the third commandment: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” What does this mean? Answer: We should fear and love God, and so we should not despise His Word and the preaching of the same, but deem it holy and gladly hear and learn it.” That’s why we take time weekly (in some cases weakly) to worship our Living Savior, Jesus Christ! It’s an opportunity to be refreshed. I once heard someone say that we are holy people, but like balloons, the toils of life prick little holes in us, and we leak. That’s why we need to be refilled with the Holy Spirit, so we can live as witnesses for Jesus in the world.

The writer of Hebrews reminds us, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His.” When we gather for worship, we enter God’s rest. We call the place of worship a sanctuary, because it is a place of refuge from the struggles of our day to day life. We are privileged to come to the Altar with all our cares and sorrows, and Jesus gives us His own body and blood to assure us of His forgiveness and love, as He sends us out, refreshed and renewed by Him, into the world. This is why, even during vacation time, it’s important for us to make time for worship.

Jesus says to every one of us, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” (Mt 11:28–30). Jesus desires us to be refreshed, and we can rest in Him. He’s always waiting and longing for us to turn to Him, and He welcomes each of us, despite our burdens, our hurts, our fears, and our issues, and wants to renew us and make us stronger.

Let me suggest a few strategies for a Sabbath rest, or a spiritual vacation. First, make time daily to be in God’s Word. I’m not suggesting that you read 10 chapters a day. Just allow God’s Word to impact your heart and life. Let the Word of God dwell in you richly! Secondly, make time for prayer, and not just a wish-list kind of praying, but one that includes meditation, and actually listening for God’s direction. Thirdly, find a time for some quiet, apart from others, apart from the noise of the television or radio, disconnected from a phone, and just practice silence. Start with five minutes, and move to ten, then 15. Clearing your mind of the world’s troubles, really opening your mind for God’s Spirit to speak to, can actually be very restful.

Personally, I would also suggest planning regular times to do something other than what you normally do. For some that may be volunteering at your parish. For others, who work in the parish, it may be volunteering elsewhere, like a food bank or school or someplace where you can have an impact beyond what is normal. Maybe it would be joining a gym or a book club. Do something that gets you out into your community so that you can be a witness for Jesus in a new place. You may be amazed at how rejuvenating it can be, and it may even help you appreciate the place God has called you to serve.

A Sabbath rest is a gift from God. Just as the physical body needs a break, so spiritually, we need to enter into that place where God can renew us by His Word and Sacrament and strengthen us for all He has for us still to do. I hope you get some vacation time this summer, and that you come back to your “normal” life well rested and energized for engaging in the Master’s business, whatever that happens to be for you. Rest well, my friends! There’s still work to be done for Jesus!

Resting in Him,
Greg

MIssion Video from District Convention now available

Categories: News & Announcements

Here is a link that will allow you to see the Mission Video that was shown at the recent District Convention.  You can use this toto show it to your congregation or school.  It could be used to highlight our work together, celebrate a Mission Sunday, help kickoff or Engage in the Master’s Business utilizing the outreach resources from Lutheran Hour.  (A separate link to these resources is also included. ) or as a bible study piece and hope it will be a catalyst for ministry ideas in your ministry.

https://youtu.be/HhFQKQL7FNQ

 

Opening video from 2015 District Convention now online

Categories: News & Announcements

Anxious? No need to Worry!

Categories: News & Announcements, President's E-news

Dear Friends,

The excitement is building around the District Office. In eleven more days people will begin arriving for the 32nd Regular Convention of the Florida-Georgia District of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. For me, personally, this is like a family reunion of sorts. People who are connected by Jesus to connect people to Jesus will all come together in Orlando for a few days of celebration and work. There is certainly work that will be done, but we also hope to maintain an atmosphere of celebration throughout our time as we together engage in the Master’s business.

I can tell you from my experience that Conventions can build a little anxiety. There are so many details that need to be attended to. However, I find comfort in reminding myself that it’s all about seeking first the Kingdom of God. If your life is at all like mine, it can often be filled with a bit of anxiety. There are so many things to worry about in life. Whether its family issues, financial stability, home repairs, car repairs, work struggles, faith struggles, just to name a few. Many of us struggle with anxiety.

In Matthew 6 Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, says, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” Mt 6:25–34.

How are we to understand these words in a practical way? I believe that they remind us that God has made promises to us, beginning in the waters of Baptism. He chose us, and cleansed us, and claims us as His very own by grace. This means that by His unmerited grace the whole Kingdom of heaven belongs to us. We are His precious children and we can place our trust in Him, not just when things are going our way, but especially when they aren’t. The testimony of Scripture gives us great encouragement. Even when it seems as if God is absent, He is not. When the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, God was with them every step along the way, every battle, every success, upholding them, offering them hope. Even in King David’s darkest days he knew that he could praise God for His blessings. Following the Resurrection, after the disciples received the Spirit on Pentecost, we find they no longer cowered in fear. In fact, look at how Peter and John react after being imprisoned for healing the lame man at the temple. When they are released they don’t hide, or protest or create a scene for being thrown in prison unfairly. Instead, they go back among the rest of the Apostles and they all pray for boldness to continue to proclaim Jesus (Acts 4:23-31). Certainly the Apostle Paul could understand anxiety and worry. Yet, as he was imprisoned for his faith in Jesus, he didn’t waste time worrying about tomorrow. He began to witness to the guards, and actually converted some.

Life is filled with challenges. God has promised to care for our needs. He says that He won’t leave us, will never forsake us, will walk along side of each believer to strengthen us in our faith. He says, in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” He has great purpose for each of us, and He will provide the way for us to carry it out as we remain in Him.

In John 15:4-5, Jesus says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” As we abide in Jesus, even during the difficult times, He promises to abide in us. His purpose is so that we can bear much fruit! We can’t do that effectively apart from Jesus. When I lived in North Georgia we had four peach trees on our property and two apple trees. What I learned is the joy I received in growing and nurturing fruit isn’t simply to benefit me or the fruit itself. In other words, the fruit gains no benefit by simply hanging on the tree. The real joy of the fruit was seen as I was able to give it away to others. I saw how it fed critters at times, as well as bees who helped to pollinate other plants, not to mention the many people who received peaches and apples. Here’s the point—fruit is meant to benefit others. Jesus wants us to bear much fruit, not for our own benefit, but to bless others because He knows that as others are blessed we receive blessing as well, and Jesus is glorified in it all. This is what happens when we get our focus right, seeking first the Kingdom and His righteousness. He’ll take care of all the rest!

So face those fears and anxieties with confidence. If God is for us, who can be against us? We have a Savior who went all the way to the cross to show us the depth of His commitment to each of us. We can be certain that the One who called us also sends us to engage in the Master’s business—to bear much fruit for the sake of others. We do this as we fix our eyes on Jesus, looking to Him daily, despite our failings and frailties, realizing that only in Him and by abiding in Him can we bear fruit! In Him we have the assurance of forgiveness and new life, and trusting in Him we don’t need to allow anxiety and worry to get the upper hand in our lives. As they say, “Don’t worry, be happy,” and we can be filled with joy and boldness for today as we abide in Jesus and seek His Kingdom. Let tomorrow be anxious about itself!

With you in the Master’s business,

Greg

Call to Serve

Categories: News & Announcements, President's E-news

Dear Friends,

I just returned from Placement Services for Vicars and Candidates in Ft. Wayne and St. Louis. It’s an exhausting trip, but one that leaves you filled with joy, and hope for the future. We saw 111 eager vicars receive their assignments to congregations across the United States. We received five of six requested vicars. These men, and their wives, will participate in a year of practical, hands-on learning experiences in a congregational ministry, benefitting from a mentoring relationship from a seasoned pastor. These congregations are carefully chosen to provide the best overall ministry experience for these men, assisting in their preparation for pastoral formation.

We also placed 97 men into the Holy ministry for their first call. They heard the same words I heard when I was first called, from 1 Peter 5, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” They joined a band of humble servants—shepherds of the Good Shepherd, caring for God’s sheep!

Many of these congregations have been eagerly awaiting the Call service for many months, and in some cases several years. I can only imagine the joy these congregations experienced as they learned the news. Unfortunately not everyone who applied for a candidate received one. There were more calls than candidates! It just points to the fact that we are not preparing as many men as we once did for holy ministry. Couple that with the fact that we are seeing a wave of pastors beginning to retire, and the number of pastors that experience burnout on a regular basis, it signals our need to creatively address the issues that face us as congregations dwindle and fewer pastors are available to serve them.

For far too long the church has become inwardly focused. As I learn the history of many of our congregations the vast majority of them were founded with a desire to reach more people with the good news of Jesus and how He died for our sins to bring us into relationship with Himself.   Many began with service to the community.  We, in the LCMS, were once known as an evangelistic church, reaching out to the helpless and hurting with the love and grace of Jesus. In fact, there are over 300 Lutheran social service agencies that were organized to respond to the needs of all kinds of people with the love of Jesus. As these pastors were called, the preachers charged them with loving not only their congregation, but also their community. They were charged to see the hurts and needs of people all around them, and to serve their community. It was really a call to be incarnational—the very presence of Jesus in a hurting world.

I suspect that most of the pastors reading this can recall call night. It’s an unforgettable life event for most of us. While I couldn’t tell you who preached or what was said, I can tell you about how Edith and I anticipated with great joy the opportunity to serve Jesus full time and tell people about His love and forgiveness. Of course, there was that, and then also the knowledge of what would set the course of our post-graduate life, when we all learned where we would be living. It’s an anxious time, contemplating where God would be sending us, and then asking why! I can still remember thinking we were going “home,” back to New York, in fact being convinced in our minds that as this was pleasing to us, it had to be pleasing to God too. Someone has said that if you want to make God laugh tell Him your plans…

What I didn’t fully grasp then, and still struggle to comprehend at times, is that you can always trust Gods plan. Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” While this is true for pastors receiving their first call, it’s really true for every one of us. God has created each of us with purpose and He has unique plans for each of us. Concordia Seminary in St. Louis uses, as its motto, “to equip the saints for works of service,” from Ephesians 4.

The role of the Pastor isn’t to DO ministry, but rather to equip God’s people to do ministry. By the way, that also doesn’t exclude the pastor from living as an example of a life of service. It’s a partnership, pastor and people together, proclaiming the forgiveness and grace of Jesus. That’s why our focus for at least the next three years is to engage in the Master’s business. One of the most important things we can do is to serve the community in which God has placed us. This, again, isn’t only for the pastor, but for all of God’s baptized children. Each of us has been chosen, in grace, to represent Jesus in the world. Certainly that includes the church, but it is also pointed at the world beyond the church to those who have not yet heard. The opportunities around us are staggering. The harvest is plentiful and the workers are few; pray the Lord of the harvest to embolden you to be a proclaimer of Jesus. As we share the grace and love of Jesus with a sin-filled world, many will be eternally grateful for their new life. Then you will have some idea of the excitement and eagerness of these new pastors and vicars who are preparing to serve Jesus.

Call day is a highlight on the seminary campus. It’s a special call, set aside for those who will serve in pastoral ministry. However, each of us also has a call. Our call, in partnership with your pastor, is to reach the world for Jesus, starting in the communities in which God has placed us. May the Lord prepare us as we work together, engaged in the Master’s Business, equipping, empowering and engaging to connect people to Jesus!

Serving Jesus with you,

Greg

Florida Georgia District Stewardship Summit

Categories: News & Announcements

Now that you have celebrated  once again  the resurrection power of our Risen Lord, now what? Time spent on the mountain top is always refreshing. But most of us serve on more level ground in the valley. God provides all we need regardless of our circumstances. Ours is to thankfully  receive God’s good grace and then steward all He has entrusted to us. Here’s something that will interest you:

The 2015 Florida Georgia District Stewardship Summit will be held at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Orlando, Florida August 14-15. The conference will begin at noon Friday and will conclude at noon on Saturday.

This special gathering of people from across our District who Love The Lord, Love His Church, and Love the unchurched will be a first.

This conference is offered FREE ! That means No Registration Fee, (Bring as many as you want!)

All meals are FREE also. The only cost to participants is your TIME , TRAVEL, and LODGING. (One night only.)

  • Do you want to gain ideas of what to do next in Stewardship in your congregation?
  • Do you want to talk to others who have the same stewardship challenges?
  •  Do you need encouragement to try new approaches in your congregation?
  • Do you want to bring your whole team so you can be on the same page?

Our vision is to see everyone in the Florida Georgia District   Equipped, Empowered, and Engaged in connecting others to The Lord Jesus Christ.

Registration is now closed.  Please contact Kathy Keene at kkeene@flgadistrict.org for information. 

Tentative Agenda

BREAKOUTS

BREAKOUT DESCRIPTIONS

Recommended hotels:

Embassy Suites Orlando Airport:  http://embassysuites3.hilton.com/en/hotels/florida/embassy-suites-orlando-airport-MCOATES/index.html

Holiday Inn Airport:  http://www.hiorlandoairport.com/

Ramada Suites Orlando Airport:  http://www.ramada.com/hotels/florida/orlando/ramada-suites-orlando-airport/hotel-overview

Hampton Inn Orlando Airport:  http://hamptoninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/florida/hampton-inn-orlando-international-airport-MCOAPHX/index.html

Lutheran Life 2015 vol 2

Categories: Lutheran LIFE, News & Announcements

The latest issue of Lutheran Life is in the mail to subscribers and is also available online.

This issues features the following:

  • FLGA District Convention Preview Edition
  • People of Truth in a World of Lies
  • The Power of Music, Rev. Greg Walton, District President
  • News of Convention Ingathering
  • Financial Workshop Geared to Teens, Parents
  • Thrivent Named a “World’s Most Ethical Company”
  • Social Ministry Spotlight
  • LWML Mites Donations
  • FLGA Campus Ministry News
  • Mission Possible – Connecting People to Jesus
  • LCEF Shared Blessings
  • National Lutheran News
  • Regional news
  • Capsules/In Memoriam
  • and much more

Watch for it in your mailbox, or read it online by using the link below:

Live 2015 vol 2

Faith Lutheran School, Marietta GA Robotics team attends World Championship!

Categories: News & Announcements

Faith Lutheran School attended the US FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) World Championship in St. Louis last week.

<a href=”http://www.mdjonline.com/view/full_story/26588837/article-Go-go-gadget–Marietta-middle-school-robotics-team-gears-up-for-world-championship?instance=home_lead_story”></a>

Holy Cross, North Miami, FL is Southern Regional Winner!

Categories: News & Announcements

Congratulations to Holy Cross Lutheran School, North Miami, FL for being named the Southern Regional Winner of the KidSmartz Safety Dance Contest.  Their video was a lively representation of their student body enacting various safety tips for students.  Great job to all of you!!!

kidsmartz video

April Fools for Jesus

Categories: News & Announcements, President's E-news

April Fools for Jesus!

 

Dear Friends,

April Fools’ Day! It’s a day to pull pranks, to tell stories, and hopefully to laugh. Laughter is a great gift from God. Some date the origin of this “holiday” back to 1392 and Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. Certainly a harmless prank evokes hilarity. I had a member of one of my congregations who routinely sent out an April Fools’ newsletter or a letter from some board or committee. Usually only to a select group. Undoubtedly I would get “the” call. Someone would have received it, believed the nonsense, and called me for an explanation. One year it was talk of a “geezer room” for our elderly to nap in during service, next to the cry room… Another time he had people believing we were going to move our church to a new location. In fact, my secretary called me while I was on vacation to inquire why I hadn’t told her. I had no idea what she was talking about until it dawned on me and I said to her, “What is today?” And she groaned as she knew she had been fooled.

The Psalmist wrote, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” Some have said that this is a holiday for people who choose to not believe in the promises of Jesus. I’m not sure I would go that far. However, I do know that the foolishness of our weak humanity is no match for the strength and majesty of our God. With the Apostle Paul, I would gladly become a fool for Jesus. That’s because I know that as we put our trust in Him, even though we may get “pranked,” we are no fools! This year the proximity of this day to Good Friday reminds us of when God played the biggest and best April Fools’ joke. The devil thought he had won, that he had somehow defeated Jesus. However, Jesus broke through those chains and rose to new life.

I love this old B.C. comic.  Years ago there was one that showed two women sitting on a small hill. One is reading the Bible and says, “Oh, my goodness. . . Says here. . . Jesus descended into hell!” The other is shocked and says, “You’re kidding!” Then the woman with the Bible says, “Oh, no. . . Not to stay! He just dropped in to cancel our reservations!” You and I, who deserved only death and hell because of our life and actions, have new reservations in eternity because of our Savior, Jesus. He now has power over death and the devil, and because of His grace, we can live without fear. This is the true joy of Easter.

What joy to gather on Easter Sunday to rejoice in the life of Jesus and our new life in Him. I remember the joyful anticipation of this celebration each year, sometimes needing to wear gloves at the sunrise service as it was so cold in North Georgia. Easter was a day when it seemed like everyone loved Jesus and was so excited to worship Him. As a pastor, this was a time of blessed exhaustion, reveling in the events of a very busy day, and then rehearsing it over and over. Easter, in most of our churches, is a glorious celebration and testimony of our faith in Jesus. It is often a time for fellowship and partnership. Sanctuaries are filled with beautiful lilies, and there is often special music and even food! People seemed overjoyed to be present in worship and there is a sense of excitement and anticipation in the air.

I am often mystified at how the disciples were cowering in fear after the crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus. They had seen the Risen Lord, but shortly after this we find them once again fishing and pretty much back to life before Jesus. Of course, Jesus didn’t leave it there!
I wonder if we stand in danger of the same thing. We get so excited in our preparations leading up to Easter and then our celebrations on Easter Sunday, but it seems by the following Sunday that people allow the joyous exuberance of our excitement turn into a “ho hum,” routine kind of faith. In fact, some traditions call the Sunday after Easter “Low Sunday.” So often the weeks following Easter see a huge dip in attendance, like the air slowly leaking out of a beach ball. The good news of Easter is a living joy that we are privileged to celebrate every Sunday. In fact, we worship on a Sunday because of the Resurrection, and every Sunday should be a celebration of Easter. Jesus is alive!

The early Church didn’t just celebrate the Resurrection on one day, but they celebrated it every time they gathered. So for us the Resurrection of Jesus is something that deserves to be celebrated again and again. It should gather us and build us up as we anticipate gathering with fellow believers each week. The resurrection is the foundation of our faith in Jesus. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15, “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” In other words, if Jesus didn’t rise from the grave then this is a terrible April fool’s joke. Thank God, this is no joke. Jesus is alive. So Paul goes on in this chapter and says, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”

We are made alive in Jesus. That’s no joke! It’s great news that we get to share with the world all around us. This is the Master’s business. Who doesn’t need to know that this life is not all there is for us? God has provided for our eternity in Jesus. And while we celebrate this especially at Easter, it is something we get to celebrate every day. Is it any wonder that on the night of His Resurrection as Jesus met with His disciples, the first thing He did, after calming them down, was to commission them? “As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you!” This is what engaging in the Master’s business is all about.

On Easter Sunday there will be many churches filled with people who desire to celebrate the Resurrection. However, how many people will wake up, nibble on some chocolate rabbit’s ears, down a few jelly beans, maybe even eat some ham or lamb or such, but never once recognize or proclaim the Resurrection of Jesus? It’s staggering to see how many still need to hear that Jesus has risen and is alive. Going to church on Easter is a great thing—even better if it inspires you to go week after week to grow and learn, to be equipped to go and engage with the world. All around us people need to know the joy we celebrate. Wouldn’t it be foolish not to tell them? Apart from Jesus, people will die and spend eternity in hell—that’s no April Fools’ joke.

May our celebrations include telling others of our Savior’s Resurrection and the new life He offers to all who believe in Him. So have a little fun today as you celebrate April Fools. But then let’s allow our Easter joy to overflow to those who still haven’t heard!

A blessed rest of Holy Week and a joyous Easter in our Resurrected Jesus!

In His peace,

Greg