Because of the resurrection, everything changes. Faith changes. The law changes. The rule changes. How God interacts with us changes. How we come to know Christ changes. What we think we have to become before entering the presence of God changes. During this Eastertide season, we'll see how the early disciples and early church changed due the power of Jesus overcoming the grave.
April 1 | Mark 16:1-8 | Because He Lives . . . Go. Tell.
Jesus emerges from the grave and forever life is changed. Death is defeated and life is now everlasting, but something peculiar occurs. The Mary’s and Salome are told by an angel to run back to tell the disciples about the resurrection but scripture ends with them saying nothing to anyone for they were afraid.
April 8 | John 20.19-31 | Because He Lives . . . We Have Life in His Name
Jesus has just resurrected and the disciples are gathering again in the Upper Room. Jesus appears out of nowhere and shows his hands and feet to Thomas, who still doesn’t believe. In this moment, Jesus meets Thomas in the midst of his doubt and breathes the Spirit into the room. This combination of Jesus coming to us even when we doubt and offering us the gift of the Spirit still happens today.
April 15 | Luke 24:36-48 | Because He Lives . . . We Have the Spirit
Jesus appears again to the disciples and eats with them. In that moment he opens their minds to understand the scriptures and commissions them to go out unto all the world making disciples. The rubric for disciple-making is simple: Preach repentance and forgiveness of sins . . . and do it everywhere you go. This rubric is still the same for us today.
April 22 | Acts 4:5-22 | Because He Lives . . . We Cannot Stop Speaking
The early church is taking off. Thousands are following the disciples and are repenting and coming to believe in Jesus as the Messiah. The Jewish elite are panicked about the progress being made and confront Peter and John, arrest them, only to release them on no charges. This battle between a budding Christianity shows the remarkable energy of following Jesus. This particular passage crescendos with Peter declaring, “Arrest me if you must, but I cannot stop speaking about what I’ve seen and heard.” During this sermon, we will show how far Peter has come from denying Christ three times to now standing on the Temple Mount preaching and healing and converting ready to be arrested and even die for Christ.
April 29 | Acts 8:26-40 | Because He Lives . . . The Spirit Leads Us
Philip is told to travel the road to Gaza. While doing it, he meets an Ethiopian Eunuch who is reading Isaiah but not understanding it. The Spirit of God gives Philip the words to say and ends up baptizing the Ethiopian while traveling on the road in a nearby river. This story is an amazing reminder of the power of the gospel and how it transforms our lives when read and understood. This passage also is a reminder that the gospel is for people who aren’t Jewish. Even Gentiles can accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior and we start seeing Christianity spread among new nations.
May 6 | Acts 10:34-43 & Acts 10:44-48 | Because He Lives . . . God’s Kingdom Opens Up
While Philip is baptizing Ethiopians, Peter is in Jordan speaking to Greeks and other Gentiles. He engages with a man named Cornelius. Cornelius is a Gentile who believes is God and wants to hear more about Jesus from Peter. In that moment, Peter preaches the gospel and declares, “Truly, in Christ there is no partiality.” This sentence opens the door even wider for the reader to understand Jesus is not just king of the Jews but Messiah to the whole world. I will make the connection that this is what a youth minister does for youth too. He/she helps us see God through scripture.
May 13 - Graduate Recognition Day | Acts 1:6-11 | Because He Lives . . . He Ascends
Today is Ascension Sunday. Acts 1 is the story of Jesus being lifted up to Heaven. Because of this moment, the Spirit was given space to enter into our world. Because of this moment, we have a future in Christ. Because of this moment, we can pursue our lives (thinking specifically about graduates). Jesus’ ascension gives us a future. Graduates are looking to the future and preparing to become the person God made them to be. All of this is possible because of Christ and the space/path he created by ascending into heaven.
May 20 | David Washburn is preaching | Acts 2:1-21
Today is Pentecost. It’s the day the Spirit promised is now the Spirit-provided. For weeks we’ve seen signs of the Spirit coming in different pockets of people, now we see the Spirit falls on all people everywhere. This is the third most important day in human history next to Christmas and Easter.