Resurrection!

 

 

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The resurrection makes a profound eternaldifference!

The resurrection makes Christianity distinct from every other religion. If the resurrection is true, it means that sin, death, and hopelessness do not win—Jesus does. It means that the empty tomb is the final word of Jesus. It means Jesus really did die for our sin and really did rise for our salvation.

 

The resurrection provides us with a perspective that is radical and perhaps somewhat “WEIRD” to the world. Eggs, bunnies, family gatherings, new dresses, and suits are the “normal,” but as followers of Christ, Easter is so much more than a religious holiday. Because of the resurrection, we have a perspective of the eternal, a sense of what really matters. Our possessions should not tie us down in light of what awaits us. The resurrection tells us that this life—the years that we live here—are but a grain of sand among the mounds of millennia that God has for us. The troubles and trials we encounter here, if viewed with the right perspective, are so small in light of God’s view.

 

Pastor Tom Barker relates the following story:  The story is told of a pastor who was having a very difficult time at the church he was serving. The pressures he felt were affecting his relationships and even his health. Because of his troubles, his life was miserable. Behind the property where his church was located was a tall hill. One day, in frustration he stepped out of the church office. He saw the hill and decided to climb it. As he ascended, he began to notice that the church was getting smaller and smaller. As he climbed, the church property began to blend into the surrounding area. By the time he reached the top, the source of all his troubles and trials and sufferings became a little, postage stamp-sized patch in a huge quilted sea of humanity. He thought, “How could I have let this little, tiny piece of the big picture cause me so much agony?”

 

Easter does make a difference. Because of Easter, the fearful disciples of Christ became the force God used to start the Christian Church. Because of Easter, Paul was turned from a persecutor of Christians to a proclaimer of Christ. Because of Easter, faith abounded as Thomas believed when he saw the nail prints and the pierced side. Hearts burned as the risen Christ was revealed to the Emmaus-bound travelers. Today, because of Easter, the Holy Spirit takes us beyond fear and changes us to bold messengers of God’s love. Because of Easter, the risen Christ says that we too shall rise.

 

Thanks be to God!

Revelation 7:9 – A Glimpse into Heaven in New York City

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.  Revelation 7:9

Have you ever been in a large crowd, I mean, a really large crowd?  Although I have been in some pretty big crowds, when I think about the giant crowd

mentioned here in Revelation 7, I simply cannot fathom it! I can’t imagine seeing a crowd that is so large that it cannot be numbered.

I was visiting the website for the Guiness World Book of Records, and out of curiosity, I thought I would look up some records for large crowds. I discovered:

1. The largest crowd to be “slimed” was 731. Yes, on March 12, 1999 in Birmingham, England, 840 litres of slime was poured upon 731 people in a fundraiser for Comic Relief.

2. The largest crowd to gather for the purpose of blowing bubbles, met in Upton Park, London

England, in May of 1999; 23,680 people assembled there in order to blow bubbles  simultaneously.

3. The largest crowd for a regular season football game is 102,368, for the Los Angeles Rams against the San Francisco 49ers, at the Los Angeles Coliseum, California, USA, on November10, 1957.

4. The largest number of visitors to a single department store in one da is an estimated 1.07 million who shopped at the Nextage Shanghai, in Shanghai,

China on December 20, 1995.

5. The greatest number of live spectators for any sporting event is 10,000,000 over a three-week period at the annual Tour de France cycling race.

All over the world, people gather in large crowds for many purposes, but as exciting as some of

those gatherings might be, they all pale in comparison to the innumerable crowd of Revelation 7.

In addition to being a massive crowd, Revelation 7:9 describes a diverse tribe from “Every, tribe, tongue and nation!”

This past weekend I was given the honor to speak at St. Peters in Brooklyn, New York.  What a joy to worship with people from America, India, Italy, Uganda, Korean, the Middle East and more!  All of these beautiful people gathered to worship THE Beautiful Savior!  At the time of the “Sharing of the Peace” the only thought of color was that of the blood shed on the cross by Jesus that “knocked down the dividing wall of hostility.”

Thanks be to God!

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Pray for Saeed Abedini

This blog is in honor of those who profess their faith as more precious than their lives. There are many who by their acknowledgement of Jesus as Savior are at risk to lose their jobs, their families or even their lives. This blog is is honor of Saaed Abedini who is willing to risk all for Jesus, the Lord of Life.

I am humbled and challenged by his courage!

Pastor Saeed Abedini, the American pastor serving an 8-year sentence in Tehran, Iran, is being pressured into converting back to Islam, but he has said that that will never happen.
“After all of these pressures, after all of the nails they have pressed against my hands and feet, they are only waiting for one thing…for me to deny Christ,” Abedini wrote in a letter obtained by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), who is representing his wife and two children back in America.

The pastor, however, has said that “they will never get this from me,” and expressed his gratitude to the over 260,000 people who have signed a petition calling for his release.

Jordan Sekulow, ACLJ Executive Director, said that he hopes that number will climb to 300,000 before his organization meets with U.N. Human Rights officials on March 5.

“Now is the time to redouble our efforts to save this courageous pastor, this U.S. citizen, from the darkness of an Iranian prison,” Sekulow wrote.

The Iranian-born pastor is currently serving an eight year sentence in Evin Prison in Tehran, where he has been held since his arrest in September 2012. The Iranian court convicted him of endangering national security, but the ACLJ say that the real reason behind the trial was that Abedini has helped many Christians in underground churches in Iran since his conversion to Christianity in 2000.