fresh life Category
The promise of the resurrection has never meant more to me than it does today. I have always loved Easter, there is no day like it on the calendar. Nothing even comes close. Ever since Lenya went to heaven, I have been living, breathing and eating the scriptures that describe Jesus’ triumphant victory over death more than at any other point in my life. The message I preached Sunday about Jesus’ resurrection, and the hope that is ours as a result, is one that has been on repeat inside my heart and home nonstop for months. We have comforted each other with “these words” as Paul said we should, and there is nothing that brings comfort when facing the grave besides the empty tomb of Jesus Christ.
As we celebrated the fact that Jesus rose the anthem reverberated across the state of Montana to more people than we have ever had the opportunity to communicate to. We have never undertaken anything quite so complicated or large as what we did Easter Sunday, but the reality of the message merits our doing everything we can to turn up our megaphone. God blessed the event in a major way and we saw many people respond to the gospel and stream forward in Billings, Missoula, Kalispell to make public professions of faith.
Going into the weekend we knew it would be bittersweet. Sweet to celebrate the best news that has ever been preached, like ever. I’m talking about “He is not here, He is risen!” Bitter for Lenya not to be there when I got off stage to show me her Lion mask craft they made in her Fresh Life Kids class. Sweet to hear story after story of life change and destinies being rerouted. Bitter to not get to see her scampering around the lawn looking for Easter eggs later on in the day.
In the midst of these highs and lows I saw something I hadn’t noticed in the Easter story before. Saturday. I tend to think a lot of Friday, when Jesus died. And of course you can’t think too much about Sunday when He rose, but Saturday hit me hard this year. On Saturday the body of Jesus remained buried in His tomb. He was not in His body. He had gone to Paradise. He would rise eventually, but for Saturday His body, which had been shed in dishonor, lay still. Motionless. Dead. Saturday is a place full of waiting. A place of anticipation. A place where promises had been made but weren’t yet fulfilled. To His disciples, who had been left behind, Saturday must have been the hardest part. I realized that we are sort of in a long Saturday, waiting for the promise of His coming, and we must not lose heart.
The ground is still cold and frozen. It has been a long and difficult winter. Fortunately, spring is coming and it carries with it the greatest celebration on the calendar — Easter. The ground will thaw, the days will lengthen and flowers will blossom. Life that has been held hostage by ice and frost will emerge and begin to bloom. The crown comes after the cross.
I have never been so excited in all my life to celebrate the resurrection as I am this year. Easter has always meant a lot to me, (and in the life of our church they have been historic times of outreach) but now it is more personal than ever. The grave is brutal, merciless and uncaring. It swallows everything it touches and it is never satisfied. It will not stop until every last person has been consumed.
The good news is that death has been devoured by the life of Christ and it can’t fight back. Jesus’ tomb is empty and because of that fact, we don’t have to be terrified by the grave anymore. Death’s power has been undone. Those who fall asleep in Christ become greater after death than they were before and they can never be touched by it again. Paul said, “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (II Corinthians 5:1)
I am writing these words about a subject that is raw and a wound that is still fresh for me. Seventy five days ago we faced the grave as a family after Lenya went to heaven, but we faced it with hope. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead and the power of the gospel are the only reason I am full of faith and not despair as I sit here. There are tears in my eyes, but peace in my heart. And I am, with every fiber of my being, driven to communicate the truth of this message to as many people as possible (people who will all have to die one day) until my time on this earth is done.
We are going big this Easter at our worship experiences that will be happening all across the state of Montana. For King & Country, Phil Wickham and The City Harmonic are going to help us celebrate. Our prayer is that many will rise, from being dead in sins, to life in Christ. Check out the Fresh Life Easter site for all the details by clicking here.
We are beginning a new series this weekend at fresh life. Be forewarned, it involves scary clowns.
The messages that I will be giving have been in the works for a long time but they mean even more to me now. In the past 49 days since my daughter went to heaven I have been learning so much that has deepened my understanding about these truths. The themes we will be exploring have been brought to a boil in my heart and are raring to be released.
We have put together a page where you can easily post about the series and send e-vites. If that wasn’t enough of a pitch, it does have an animated elephant gif balancing on a ball. Check it out here. As you pray about who to invite I’ll tell you this, the first message is explicitly evangelistic so it will be a really great opportunity to invite and bring people who need to hear the gospel.
We’re excited to announce that Pastor Steven Furtick from Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC, will be speaking at Fresh Life this weekend! A friend and supporter of the Lusko family, Pastor Steven is the lead pastor of Elevation and gifted writer of the nationally acclaimed “Sun Stand Still” and New York Times best seller “Greater.” Elevation is an explosive movement of God meeting at seven campuses throughout Charlotte, with more than 12,000 in regular attendance. Pastor Steven and Elevation have seen more than 21,000 people come to Christ in the past seven years, so bring a friend this weekend that needs to hear about Jesus! -ADMIN