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Monday, April 21, 2014

Donegal Springs, Lancaster County, PA 4/20/14 (Click to enlarge)
We had a beautiful Easter. In the late afternoon we took a long walk over to the Donegal Springs downhill from the Presbyterian Church.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

"The Centrality Of Christ's Resurrection"
He Has Risen!

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"He is not here; He is risen, just as He said" (Matthew 28:6).

Christ the Lord is ris'n today, Alleluia!

Yesterday Christians around the world celebrated the resurrection Of Jesus Christ. Milan, a Bosnian friend, informed me that Easter was observed on the same date on both the Eastern and Western church calendars this year. (I was unaware that Easter isn't always celebrated on the same day worldwide).

The custom of celebrating Resurrection Day is an ancient ritual of the church. However in the New Testament itself there is no specific reference to
it being celebrated annually, apart from the first Resurrection Day. The early Christians continued to celebrate the Passover and of course would have had the additional dimension of the resurrection of Christ in mind. The actual introduction of Easter Sunday appears to have occurred after Emperor Hadrian ruthlessly crushed the Barkokeba revolt (A.D. 132-135). However Christians, beginning on Resurrection Day itself, celebrated the resurrection each week on the Lord's Day!

The New Testament uniformly teaches the centrality of Christ's resurrection. Familiar to most are the accounts of the resurrection found in the gospels. That's likely the message preachers preached on yesterday including our own pastor. Each of the four gospels end with an account of the resurrection.

But this week we also want to examine a resurrection truth from the other four major sections of the New Testament; Acts, Paul's epistles, the general epistles and Revelation. Each affirms the centrality of the resurrection of Christ, what Paul calls of "first importance" (1 Corinthians 15:3). The Holman Christian Standard Bible states "most important".

"First importance (protos) in this context refers to first in prominence, most important or foremost. The truth that follows is among first things. In primis. Not to time, but to importance. It is notable that this section presents the only summary of the Gospel that is found in the New Testament" (Precept Austin online commentary)

These essential truths of the gospel are of first importance...
  • Christ died for our sins
  • He was dead and was buried
  • He was raised from the dead
  • He appeared to many witnesses
The first verbal witness of the resurrection in Matthew's Gospel is the angel who testified this simple, yet gloriious truth, "He is not here; He is risen". And that remains the testimony of the faithful church and faithful Christians.

Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, the announcement made by the angel at the tomb continues to echo throughout the centuries. Just as the women told the disciples that Jesus was not in the tomb, but He is risen, disciples of Christ have repeated the life-changing Good News to all who will hear. Though Jesus was dead He lives again. Though we were spiritually dead in our trespasses and sins we are set free and made alive through the saving blood of Jesus Christ. His resurrected power raises us up out of the dark tomb of our sinful despair, and promises us a home in heaven where darkness is banned. No light from a lamp or rays from the sun will be needed, for the Lord God is the Light of Heaven. Keep us looking to the everlasting light as we journey in a land where darkness reigns. In the name of Jesus we pray Amen.

Easter is mentioned in some versions of the Bible in Acts 12:4, although most versions use the word "Passover" in this passage:
"And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people." (Setting:  Herod had killed James and, seeing that it pleased the Jews, he then arrested Peter.)

Easter service at Longwood 4/20/14

Yesterday afternoon we conducted the Easter service at the Longwood Manor. Dale Singer, who likes to tout that he was "born a singer" faithfully visits his wife who is a resident.  At one time he sung professionally and yesterday he assisted Brooksyne with several songs. He continues to have a strong singing voice even in his eighties. It appears that he's trying to start a new trend in wearing ties with his knit shirts!

Kember print
For many years we have made reference to the Kember Scripture prints (here's the story) and periodically someone sends us a photo of one. Last Friday I received the above photo from Phil who grew up in the Chicago land area. "This hung in my father's office as long as I can remember. It has been in my office now for 5 years. A reminder at what price we were bought, and also that we are covered by His blood and able to withstand the trials of this world."

If you have or see a Kember print send us a photo to
this email address with a brief description.

Geese couple 4/20/14
Alongside Donegal Springs we saw a goose nesting. She got up and joined her mate in the pool while we walked by. Her dip in the pool gave us a chance to snap a photo of the nest.

Geese eggs 4/20/14
Looks like a family of five based on the egg count! Are there ever duck twins?

Donegal Springs steps, Lancaster County, PA 4/20/14 (Click to enlarge)
The grounds are just beginning to green up and some of the spring bulbs are blooming. I officiated a wedding here two years ago and we rehearsed the wedding using this entry for the wedding party. The next day the guest chairs were arranged alongside Donegal Springs but suddenly the stormclouds gathered, the torrential rains fell and we ended up having the wedding inside the church. With windows on every side we still had a lovely view of the rose gardens and flowers, though a little drenched.

Easter cake 2014Ester requested an Easter cake that we saw in a magazine. I couldn't resist though the calorie content was ridiculously high. It was a multi-colored 4 layer 8" cake with frosting made of loads of marshmallow cream, butter and cream of coconut. We ate half of it over three days and sent the rest with Ester today. This morning the scales did not excuse the cake calories just because it was Easter.  Now I have to double down on my walking this week to compensate for the indulgence. Now that it's beautiful outside it's not a hard thing to do (the dogs are happy for the extra steps as well)!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

This week we will share songs that have blessed us about the resurrection of Christ

"Christ The Lord Is Risen Today"  Video  (traditional)  Video  (a bit more contemporary)

"Power Of The Cross"  Video  Steve Green

"Easter Song"  Video  Matthew Ward

"See What A Morning"
 Video  Getty/Towend team  I (Brooksyne) really appreciate the Biblical resurrection account being recounted in such detail and colorfully presented in this song by the Gettys and Stuart Towend, one of 12 hymns they collaborated on, based on the core beliefs as articulated in the Apostle's Creed.

"I'll Rise Again"
 Video  Dallas Holm

"Christ Arose"  Video  Daniel Thornton

"Because He Lives"  Video  Gaither Vocal Band

"He Arose"  Video  Stone Church choir

"He's Alive"  Video  Don Francisco

"He Gave His Life"  Video  Vocal Union 

"There Never Was A Pulpit Like The Cross"  Video  Vocal Union  Brooksyne heard this on the radio Saturday and called my attention to it.  It's a southern gospel acapella rendering of a powerful message within the song.

Crosswalk album cover (early eighties)
We post this LP album cover for those who follow us from our church in Northern Pennsylvania.  Crosswalk was a Christian band from our church. We came across this on Facebook and it took us back to "the good ol' days....".

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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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