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Monday, April 13, 2009

California coastline (photo by Nancy Martin) Click to enlarge
California coastline
Photo by Nancy Martin
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"It Is True!"

"It is true! The Lord has risen" (Luke 24:34).

Calvin Bacon is a pastor friend I met while living in New England. When he retired he moved to Florida and for several years sent out a weekly email update and inspiration to his family and friends prior to his home going (he died while on a mission trip in Africa). He had many children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and when I read his messages I sensed a type of modern patriarch, faithfully serving God and passing on the heritage to those behind him. One of his final messages was on Easter Sunday and he shared a remembrance from early in his ministry. It is a reflection from the past but a timely truth now and always:

"We celebrate RESURRECTION DAY!  I shall never forget an event from the mid-fifties. I was on staff at the Stone Church in Chicago, Illinois as the Minister of Music and Youth.  It was Easter Sunday Morning and as usual we were standing in the foyer of that great church welcoming the parishioners at they came in for Worship.  They were all dressed up with hats and corsages. There was no communication from overseas except Western Union Telegraph. In through the front door popped a young man in a Western Union uniform.  He handed the Pastor a yellow envelope.  Pastor tore it open and it was from a missionary in Jerusalem.  The words, written on 1/4" tape and pasted on the yellow paper read: "HE IS NOT HERE STOP HE IS RISEN STOP HALLELUJAH".  ("Stop" was the word used for a period back then.)  That made a tremendous impact on my young mind.  And the same message is just as real today as it was back then.  WE SERVE A RISEN LORD! HALLELUJAH!  Our God is different from any other god in the world.  He was embedded into mankind and then killed, but He rose again and now reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. Praise His Name! Let's celebrate. GLORY!"

"It is true! The Lord has risen" (Luke 24:34). Have you made this affirmation?  It was initially made by the two disciples who encountered the risen Lord on the road to Emmaus.  That's the simple, straightforward report they brought to the eleven. 

It's at the very heart of the Christian faith, a matter of "first importance" according to the apostle Paul.  In fact Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins" (1 Corinthians 15:17).

You see; our faith is grounded in objective historical fact, not religious myth.  Peter wrote, "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty" (2 Peter 1:16).

And now here we are, nearly 2,000 years later (1,976 based upon the commonly held date of 33 AD).  I write this early on a beautiful Monday morning looking out over a vast farm field.  You're reading it in a variety of locations all around the world.  After Resurrection Sunday it's back to work, back to living out the remainder of our allotted time on planet earth, back to what has often been referred to as "the daily grind."  Yet the reality of the resurrection is a dynamic truth that should impact and permeate every area of our life.  It should invigorate our walk with Christ and renew our hope in the midst of the daily grind so that our spirit soars above the wear and tear of life's demands and disappointments.

Yesterday I shared three reasons that the resurrection of Christ is of first importance:

  • It is a genuine, historical event.
  • It is the crowning event in God’s redemptive plan, assuring us of the ultimate victory.
  • It is a life-transforming event.
One of the great evidences for the validity of the Christian faith is the changed lives of the disciples.  From Resurrection morning onward they went forth as devoted servants of the resurrected Christ and many were martyred for their faith.  The resurrection truth meant a deep, abiding commitment to the risen Lord for these early Disciples of Christ and it has for believers in each subsequent generation.  Today, hundreds of millions live for Jesus Christ and I'm one of them.  I earnestly hope you are as well.  Yes, it's true, the Lord is risen!  And I believe, you as a reader will properly respond, "He is risen, indeed!"

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, the message "He is risen" resounds beyond the place of the tomb where Jesus' body no longer lay, for it resounds in our hearts and soars within our spirits nearly 2000 years later.  We serve a risen Savior who is in the world today, who dwells within our hearts, and who reconciles us to You, our Father in heaven.  What a joyous and triumphant day we celebrate at Easter and everyday as we acknowledge our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who died, was buried, and who rose again.  Amen.

One more reflection: For many, many years I have appreciated the story of a proud and ungodly professor who said to a young child who believed in the Lord Jesus: "My dear little girl, you don't know whom you believe in. There have been many christs. In which of them do you believe?" "I know which one I believe in," replied the child. "I believe in the Christ who rose from the dead!"

Some photos from our weekend

Discover Joy sanctuary Easter 2009
Our sanctuary was decorated with spring flowers on Easter Sunday

Laurie & trumpet on Easter SundayLaura Martin, a young lady in our church, joined Brooksyne yesterday in the song, "Christ Arose"

Pat Weber with grandson Noah
Yesterday afternoon we traveled to the Lehigh Valley to join my brother Pat and his family for Easter dinner. Following our dinner, as is our custom, we walked down to the Lehigh River with his grandson Noah, who like many young boys is intriqued by trains. Pat is pointing across the river to a train that is passing.

Reading pagodaOn the way home we drove through Reading (pronounced Redding), Pennslvania and visited the Reading Pagoda, which sits on a mountain ridge high over the city. It's lit up with red neon lights at night which we often see from the bypass on the other side of the city.  This always struck me as a strange icon for an old northeast North American city, but it has an interesting story.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.

"In Christ Alone"  Video  This is an example of a contemporary song with excellent lyrics that we feel, should Christ tarry, may one day attain hymn status and be sung in succeeding generations.  We sang this song yesterday in our church.
"He's Alive"  Video  I recalled this song we so enjoyed from the late seventies and sure enough found a nice version on Youtube to share. Don Fransisco is still singing for the Lord.

"I'll Rise Again"  Video  As we considered older songs that have blessed us through the years Brooksyne recalled this one and remembers the precise time we first heard it.  It was at a friend's house in Emporium, Pennsylvania the fall of '77 and Phyllis was so excited about the new song, "I'll Rise Again" that she played the record album on her stereo for us to hear.  We also were stirred with its powerful message written and sung by Dallas Holm.

"One Solitary Life"  Video
  I have always enjoyed this short reflection on Christ's life and many will recognize the narrator in this version!

"I Know That My Redeemer Lives"  Video  We sang this grand hymn of our faith in church yesterday!

Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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