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Easter is This and Pentecost is That

Lawson Stone is a real life friend who’s an Old Testament seminary professor. He recently wrote this, and it’s with his gracious permission that I share this with you —

We are on a 50 day journey from Easter to Pentecost:

Easter is light; Pentecost is Fire.

Easter fulfills the departure from Egypt; Pentecost fulfills the glory descending into the Tabernacle.

Easter commemorates a historical event; Pentecost points to a personal event.

Easter is the Victory of the Son; Pentecost is the Victory of the Spirit.

Easter is the triumph over death; Pentecost is the triumphant Life.

Easter is the Resurrection working in Jesus; Pentecost is the Resurrection turned loose in the church.

At Easter, God SHOWS his Power; at Pentecost, God SHARES his Power.

Easter proclaims an objective miracle; Pentecost promises a subjective miracle.

Easter secures our Redemption; Pentecost effects our Transformation.

Easter makes us WITNESSES; Pentecost makes us EVIDENCE.

Amen?

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God is Great, God is Good

Miss Lois taught me a lot of things.

She was on Romper Room and she taught me to pray this:

God is great,

God is good,

Let us thank God

For our food.

Amen.

Those first two lines make a great Affirmation of Faith: God is great and God is good.

Let’s help each other remember those two things today.

But first, we need to remember those two things ourselves….

 

Tomorrow Gonna Be Any Different?

“If you’re not gonna do anything different, how is tomorrow gonna be any different from today?”

That’s from a Netflix show.

It’s a good question.

And this is a good prayer:

God, grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

the courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference. 

And so: “…how is tomorrow gonna be any different from today?”

 

Becoming Rich

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor, theologian and Nazi resistance fighter imprisoned for his actions. In the midst of that he said, “It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”

Again: “It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”

You and I really do have so much to celebrate today, but we forget.

Let’s start to remedy that right now by being thankful for Bonhoeffer and his reminder: “It is only through gratitude that life becomes rich.”

As our son’s current favorite church song says, “Give thanks with a grateful heart.”

And let your life become rich today: “It is only through gratitude that life becomes rich.”

Make Change

I’m told that only 20% of heart attack victims make meaningful long-term behavioral changes. But there’s one characteristic among them.

Before we go any further, a moment of self-examination: what changes would you like to see in your own life?

These usually fall under the categories of finance, relationships, health, career, and spirituality. And not necessarily in that order.

A Wharton Business School has long spoken of Work-Life Balance, but has recently switched to Work-Life Integration as the goal.

Again I ask you: what changes would you like to see in your own life?

So what is the one common denominator among that 20% of heart attack survivors who make successful changes? “They have someone in their life who is there for them,” according to page 22 of Your Retirement Quest, “someone to encourage them, to hold them accountable, and truly care about their well-being.”

Who’s “there for” you like that?

And equally important, for whom do you offer encouragement, accountability, and “care about their well-being” today? After all, Let each of you look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4)

Serious stuff. Spend some time with our three questions today —

 

What changes

would you like to see

in your own life?

 

Who is “there for” you

with “encouragement,

accountability, and care”?

 

For whom do you offer

“encouragement,

accountability, and care”

today?

 

See you back here tomorrow.

 

 

Discouraged

What does the Lord require of you?

Micah 6:8

 

[Susan Morgan Patterson is a real life friend from college, who graciously gave me permission to share this with you —]

Sometimes lately I’ve been getting a little discouraged about how things are in our world today – sin is rampant, no respect for elders, overall general disinterest in the things of God.

I was picking up my grand babies this morning and had the radio on. Luis Palau was talking about the early Christians and the world in which they found themselves – very much like today.

He said they didn’t try to change or protest against every little sin they saw. Rather, they shared the love of Jesus with the people they met.

So nothing has really changed.

Our mission should still be to make a difference in our sphere of influence. That is all the Lord requires of us!

One Week Later

[With gratitude to David Bryan, super friend in college and now a United Methodist colleague, who first turned me onto A. W. Tozer, it’s my joy to share this with you. Yes, this is from the mid-20th century and sounds like it…but move beyond the How to the What that Tozer’s saying here  — ]

Do we really believe that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is something more than making us the “happiest fellows in the Easter parade”?

Are we just to listen to the bright cantata and join in singing, “Up from the Grave He Arose,” smell the flowers and go home and forget it?

No, certainly not! It is truth and a promise with a specific moral application.

The resurrection certainly commands us with all the authority of sovereign obligation-the missionary obligation!

I cannot give in to the devil’s principal deceitful tactic which makes so many Christians satisfied with an “Easter celebration” instead of experiencing the power of Christ’s resurrection.

It is the devil’s business to keep Christians mourning and weeping with pity beside the cross instead of demonstrating that Jesus Christ is risen, indeed.

When will the Christian church rise up, depending on His promise and power, and get on the offensive for the risen and ascended Savior?

— A. W. Tozer, Sermon: Easter and Missions