Easter, A Look Back
Celebrating and remembering Passion Week culminating with Easter Sunday is my favorite time of the year. I love it because so many non-christians and de-churched people go to a Christian church service and hear the simple message of salvation found in the gospel. Millions of Bible-believing churches all over this world are proclaiming the same message: the perfect substitutionary life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for mankind’s good and God’s glory.
Over the years at Celebration Church and Mars Hill Church, the Lord blessed me with the privilege of seeing Jesus save literally thousands of people and then watching those thousands of people follow him in baptism.
One of the biggest highlights for me was Easter 2014 at Mars Hill. In the middle of extreme media and blogosphere controversy, we broadcasted our Good Friday and Easter services online from the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, Washington. One specific event that was particularly impactful on me was seeing a family baptize their daughter. I found out later that one of our talented photographers had captured the moment on film! It’s one of my favorite pictures. The look on the mother’s face and the embrace that they shared in front of me and my family will always be imprinted in my mind, Lord-willing.
That was certainly one of the most tender moments of the weekend, but I’ll also never forget one of the funniest. My family and I were interviewed for a segment of the live stream. My son, who is a ball of nonstop energy, was 3 years old at the time. While we were waiting to go on camera, my son said to me, “I push button, Daddy, I push button.” I didn’t know exactly what he meant until I started hearing commotion, and cameramen and audio personnel saying things like, “We’re black! We’re down! I have no power! I have nothing!” Yup–Jojo had managed to flip the power switch for the live stream! We had a great laugh–after we turned everything back on.
That weekend, 356 people were baptized at our 15 locations across 5 states. It was worth every minute of work and every ounce of energy that we spent to accomplish that event! Only Jesus knows how truly far-reaching the eternal effects of that weekend were! I pray that the hundreds of people who were saved a year ago are strong, fruitful, faithful, and full of growing affection for their Savior! I pray the same thing for each person who is being saved this weekend across the world!
This weekend, the Lord is leading me to pray for several churches specifically: North Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Cross & Crown in Seattle, WA; Doxa Church in Bellevue, WA; Foundation Church in Everett, WA; Harbor Church in Olympia, WA; Redeemer Church in Portland, Oregon; Rainier Valley Church in Seattle, WA; Sound City Bible Church in Shoreline, WA; Redemption Spokane in Spokane, WA; Resurrection Church in Tacoma, WA; Trinity West Seattle in Seattle, WA; Phoenix Bible Church in Phoenix, Arizona; Redeemer Church in Seattle, WA; and Redemption Church Seattle. These are all being led by men with whom I had the privilege to work and do ministry. I’m praying that Jesus is glorified mightily in those people and places!
Today, let’s rejoice at what Jesus continues to do in the hearts and lives of people whom he “made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him” (Colossians 2:13b-15).
Make no mistake on this Easter Sunday 2015: Jesus’ first advent was as our sacrificial Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7). But his second coming will be as King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16)! This is a biblical certainty: the enemy is defeated and Jesus Christ is victorious! May we together long for his second appearing (2 Timothy 4:8)!