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ENCOUNTERING JESUS: Resurrection Direction Luke 24:13:35

February 2, 2014. Like many of you, my head popped off the pillow that day. It was a day I knew I would never forget. It was a day that I’d been looking forward to for the past two weeks. No, it was not my wedding day. The Broncos were in the Super Bowl! My wings were going; the bean dip was prepared; the confetti was ready to fall in my house. I invited friends and family over and we were ready for that game. Many of you were too. If you remember, the Broncos were playing the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII. On the very first drive that the Denver Broncos had, our center hiked it over Peyton Manning’s head for a safety for the other team. From that point forward, it was sheer pandemonium! Do you remember that? My head popped off the pillow that day with the highest hopes imaginable and two minutes into the game, I thought to myself, “This isn’t going to go well for us!”

I wonder if Jesus’s disciples felt the same way that Sunday morning? They’d gone to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover Feast. They’d gone to Jerusalem with hopes high. They’d gone to Jerusalem with anticipation. They were leaving Jerusalem and on their way home, with as high as their hopes were going, their hopes were equally as low leaving. They left Jerusalem—Cleopas and an unnamed friend of his, many scholars think it might have been his wife. John 19:25 suggests that, but we’re not sure. They’re heading from Jerusalem to Emmaus. It’s interesting because Jerusalem was the place of the Israelites’ hope. It was the place of their faith. It would be the birth place of the church. Cleopas and his traveling companion are unable to get to the place where they can accept the story that they’ve just heard. The grave is empty and even angels have come and declared it, but their hopes are so low that they can’t even hear the best news that they would ever hear. They leave Jerusalem. They leave the resurrection and they go home. They go to Emmaus, a little village seven miles away from Jerusalem. It’s the place of worldly consolation. It’s the place where you cash in your chips and think, “Well, that was a nice story and if only it were true, wouldn’t that be nice?” Unfortunately, life doesn’t go like that, does it?

So the story we just read is built around directions. Cleopas and his friend leaving and going away from the very place that could heal their soul. They’re walking away from the dream. They’re walking away from their faith. They’re walking away from everything that would make their soul come away. And they’re walking away distraught, because their hopes were high and they’ve been absolutely dashed. Cleopas and his friend make a decision—not just about that day. They made a decision about their life. We can’t hope in something as crazy as resurrection. When they walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus, they’re thinking that the story was over.

The whole story is built around directions, and the truth of the matter is, friends, that for you and I, the direction that we walk determines the life that we live. Think for a moment about the life that you’re living and the direction that you’re walking. There’s a number of things (just like for Cleopas and his friend) that determine the direction that we walk. For some of us, we would say that faith is one of those main things that determines the direction that we walk and the place that we long to go. For a lot of us, the direction that we walk is determined by the circumstances in our life. It’s determined by the events that take place and then, likewise, the way that we process and walk in the events that take place. If you think about your life—your life is determined certainly by belief, it’s determined by circumstance or event. It’s also determined by how we feel about those things and our emotions. And it can be so easy, can’t it, to decide that we’re going to walk in a different direction based on something painful that happens.

So Cleopas and his wife leave Jerusalem. They walk AWAY from the greatest they’ve ever been told! The truth for you and I, friends, is that our direction this morning is either leading us towards the resurrection of Jesus or away from it. We’re either in that place where we’re going, “We believe that story”—the same story that Cleopas and his wife were told but didn’t believe. We’re in the place where either we believe that story or, like a lot of people that were around during Jesus’s day, think it’s an idle tale. Just a nice sort of fairy tale that we all wish was true, but we know deep down it isn’t. Here’s my question: What direction are you walking this morning? Where’s your conviction? Where’s your belief? Where does it lie and what direction are you walking?

I want to explore with you what it looks like to walk away from the resurrection. It’s all in this story, Luke 24:17-20. Jesus comes up to Cleopas and his wife alongside the road. And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” Quick timeout. After the story, isn’t he going to think back to himself, “Whoops!” This is the Undercover Boss going in and being told he’s a terrible boss. Jesus, coming up alongside of him, and one of his disciples saying, “Are you the only idiot around that doesn’t know what’s going on? Where have you been? You’ve been buried under a rock??!!” I’m surprised that Jesus at that point wasn’t like, “Bye, we’re done here.” Here’s what they say: Haven’t you heard that Jesus, the hoped-for Messiah, was condemned to death and and they crucified him? Here’s what the road away from Jerusalem, away from resurrection looks like: It looks like death. If you’re in this place this morning and you’ve buried somebody who you’ve loved, or you’re in this place and you’ve buried a dream that you had, you’ve buried a marriage that you hoped for, you buried a job that you thought was going to be the thing for you. If you’ve buried a loved one, if you’ve buried a dream, you know that road of Emmaus, don’t you? That thought that man, everything that I’d thought about my life is now completely different. We know that road. We know that Emmaus road, that road heading from Jerusalem to seven miles to the west. We, as human beings, understand that road and we understand it all too well, don’t we? The truth of the matter is, friends, the pain that we experience in life can so easily determine the direction of our life. It can determine the direction that we walk.

As they continue to walk down this road, here’s what they say to Jesus: But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. We hoped he was the one—-that this thousand-year-old story—-we hoped he was going to be the climax, that he was going to be the point. Our hearts were in this, our heads were in this….we saw him heal the blind, we saw him heal the sick, we saw him raise other people who were dead, and all of our hopes were tied up in this man. The Scriptures are interesting because they say they were “kept from recognizing him.” (v.16) We don’t exactly know how or why they were kept from recognizing him, but it seems to me that God was at work in blinding them, but also, they had no category for a Messiah who would come and die. They had no category for a King who would reign in the way of love, rather than in the way of authority and power. Certainly, God was at work, but so were their categories. They couldn’t see this type of Savior. They couldn’t see this type of God. Along this Emmaus road, they had hope, but those hopes were now in the past tense. So they’re walking in this despair. This place, that I’m guessing, you’ve been. They’d hoped that he would be the rabbi who would teach them the way. They’d hope that he would be the friend that would stick by their side. They’d hoped that he would be the one to bring all of the hopes of this nation of Israel and all of the pieces of the story of God….they’d hoped that he would be that person. And as they Jerusalem to walk towards Emmaus, they’re making the decision that hope is now in the past tense and now it’s despair. We’ve walked the Emmaus road. We’ve walked that road of…I thought it was going to turn out like this and it didn’t. Not only that, but it was worse. If you haven’t walked that road, all you have to do is turn on your TV. In the last two weeks, you can think of the different circumstances around the globe that could so easily weigh us down with despair. Last Sunday, there’s a bombing where 21 Coptic Christians gathering for worship in Egypt are killed. A few weeks ago, there was a chemical warfare attack in Syria, where over 70 people died and dozens more have their lives changed for the next decades. Friends, if Easter doesn’t speak to these issues, Easter doesn’t speak to anything. If it doesn’t meet us in this place—-this place of we had hoped it was going to go a little bit different, but it isn’t—-than it doesn’t speak to anything.

Jesus walking along with his disciples AWAY from Jerusalem says to them: O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! You had all the pieces, you had all the puzzle pieces, right in front of you. You just didn’t see how they fit together. My youngest son’s name is Reid. He’s four years old now. He knows we are going on a family vacation to Disney World in Thorida (Florida) this summer. He knows that we’re going in the summer time. He knows that we’re going when he’s four years old. He knows that we’re going to go when it’s warm outside. And he knows that we’re going to go when the other kids are done with school. You’d be surprised how many crossovers there are between those four things that are true and real and every other day of the year. If it’s warm outside when we wake up—Are we going to Thorida today? We wake up and he asks, “How old am I today?” Well, you’re four years old. Are we going to Thorida? He’s got all of the pieces and ZERO understanding. He’s got all of the facts right, but he does not understand the plan and he does not understand the story and the way that it all fits together. And Jesus’s comment to the disciples is the exact same thing. You’ve read the prophets, you’ve read the Scriptures, you get it! You just don’t understand that the metanarrative above it all is that God’s going to enter the story, and he’s going to give his life to redeem humanity. You’ve missed the part of understanding. You knew all the facts, you just didn’t get how it all fit together. Isn’t it interesting how much our understanding can affect our hearts? Isn’t it fascinating that when we’re off course, or we have no category for what God is doing in our life, it’s so easy to come to the place where we say, “God, if you’re real than fill-in-the-blank.” Right? Or, “God, if you love me, well then you would have done this or you would have done that.” Just like the disciples, we can come to this place, heading away from the resurrection, doubting the plan of God, wondering how all these pieces fit together to tell the story of a God who loves humanity and is in the process of redeeming and restoring all things. We can know the facts and still doubt the truth of it. That’s where the disciples are. Are you so slow to believe?

So this is the road AWAY from Jerusalem, the road toward Emmaus. Here are the signposts along the road: DEATH. DESPAIR. DOUBT. And this is the place that Jesus meets his disciples. This is the place where the risen Messiah comes alongside of them and reveals who he really is and reveals his redemptive plans. This is the place—the place of death and despair and doubt—where Jesus meets them and turns them around. We want to meet Jesus on the mountaintop, but most of the time the reality is we meet him in the valley. We meet him in the doubts, we meet him in the despair, we meet him in the death. That’s where our eyes our open to…Oh my goodness, God, even though this terrible thing happened and I never would have chosen it, you’re still good and you still love me and you’re still for me. If we were to drill down in each of our lives today, here’s what I think we would find—-I think we would find that we don’t necessarily have problems that we need to fix. We have directions that we need to change. We need to meet God in the midst of the doubt, in the midst of the despair, in the midst of the death. We need to see him in those places. When it’s all said and done, we don’t necessarily care about fixing all the problems, it’s that hope piece, isn’t it? It’s the direction piece—the life that we’re living and the way that we’re heading. Listen to the way it says it in verse 33. Once they recognize Jesus, he meets them along this road. And they rose that same hour… {Most likely it was in the evening because they’d just eaten dinner with Jesus. He’s broken bread and they’ve seen him. THAT very same hour they….} ..returned to Jerusalem. {You’re not as excited about it as I am. That’s okay.} When they return to Jerusalem, here’s what they’re saying: Our hopes are not dead. That the resurrection that we heard about, that story that we heard about….it actually happened! So we’re going to travel this road, probably at night, we’re going to risk our lives because we believe that that story is true! When we believe that that story is true, it changes everything! That very same hour. Seven miles. Roughly three hours of walking. Just to go back to the place of pain. Just to go back to the place of death. Just to go back to the place of despair and breathe a word of life. They turn around.

They turn around. They’re on the road to Emmaus, heading west. Heading towards the sunset. And they turn around and they head east towards the sunrise. It has been said that Christians are people who head not towards the sunset but towards the sunrise, because we believe that a new day is dawning. We believe that life is breaking forth from death. We believe that our God walked out of the grave. We’re not heading towards the sunset, towards the END, we’re heading towards the sunrise. Towards a new beginning. When we turn towards resurrection belief we choose God’s future. So the direction you’re walking today is determining a future for you. If you’re walking away from resurrection hope that’s determining a future for you. The early followers of Jesus said, “No, no, no, no, no. Regardless of how far we’ve gone, and regardless of where we find ourselves, we can turn around.” We can turn around because there IS hope. The Apostle Paul, in one of the first letters he wrote to the churches, said: For I delivered to you as of first importance {As if to say, “Don’t miss this!” This is his way of saying, “Look up at me!”} what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. (1 Cor. 15:3-4) They’re going, “This is our story. This is our song.” That the resurrection of Jesus has power, has explosive power, in our lives, not just on that day when our bodies, like Jesus’s, will be resurrected, but TODAY. Because the direction we walk determines the life that we live, and when we choose resurrection direction, we choose to live in God’s future. Rather than the future of the crucified Jesus, we live in the future of the risen Jesus.

Look at how all these pieces start to come together on the road to Emmaus. (Luke 24: 25-27) And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Wouldn’t you have loved to have been a part of THAT Bible study? If you’re Cleopas and you’re a teacher or leader of Bible studies, don’t you, after that, go, “Well, that just ends every Bible study EVER! Let’s just camp there.” Here’s what Jesus is saying: every single plot line in the Bible connects in Him! That the entire story, from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation, is declaring one thing—that Jesus IS the Messiah, that he IS the King, that he HAS come to reign, and that he HAS redeemed, and is in the process of redeeming, his people. Think of being a part of THAT Bible study!! John Calvin, the great reformer, writes about this idea and I’ll paraphrase. “Christ is the new Isaac, the beloved Son of the Father who was offered as a sacrifice, nevertheless, he did not succumb to the power of death. He’s the new Jacob, the shepherd who has such great care for his sheep which he guards. He’s the sovereign lawgiver Moses, writing his law on the tablets of our hearts by his Spirit. He’s the faithful captain Joshua, leading his people into the Promised Land. He’s the strong and powerful Samson, who by his death overwhelmed his enemies. He is the victorious and noble King David, bringing by his hand all rebellious power under his submission. He’s the magnificent and triumphant King Solomon, governing his kingdom with peace and prosperity. He’s the Lamb that was slain, not just to cover sin, but to completely remove it.” Can you imagine being a part of THAT study? John Calvin said it like this at the end: “If one were to sift thoroughly the Law and the Prophets, he would not find a single word which would not draw and bring us to Jesus.”

At South Fellowship, that’s what we’re all about. We’re all about Jesus! Because that’s what the Scriptures are ALL about! So we study the Scriptures, but we follow Jesus. We study the Scriptures because we want to worship Jesus. We study the Scriptures because we believe that in Jesus’s words there are life—life abundantly and life fully. So the early disciples doubt and then he gives them this nice little Bible study. And then it says: When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. (v.30-31) They’re going, “Yeah, this is what the story’s all about. It’s all about you, Jesus.” The one who would not just come to rule with an iron fist, but would come to lay down your life. This is what the story’s all about. And they enter into this place, not of doubt anymore, but the road back to Jerusalem…that we choose God’s future in turning towards resurrection belief. It starts to awaken our faith.

If you were to go and read this section of Scripture, you’ll see that phrase “their eyes were opened.” I think Luke is sort of giving a wink and a nod to another meal in the Scriptures that people would have recognized. Those who’d been around the story would have gone, “Huh! So we’re at a meal and our eyes are opened.” They would have thought, “That reminds me of another story!” In fact, it reminds me of the very FIRST story about a meal in the Scriptures. In Genesis 3:6-7, we see that Adam and Eve are told not to eat from one tree, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They disobey God and this is where the curse that Jesus comes to reverse enters into humanity, because they take it and they eat it and….Then the eyes of both were opened. If you’re reading Luke, talking about a meal where bread is broken and eyes are opened, you go, “Oh wait! That reminds me of the story where their eyes are opened.” THIS opening of eyes (Adam & Eve) was distancing from God. This opening of their eyes was, “Oh my goodness! Now we live in a world where the design is fractured and the distance is now unobtainable. We can’t make it ourselves.” That’s what that opening of eyes meant. See, now when they break bread their eyes are opened. The first meal brought death, but this meal brings life. The curse of death has been broken through the breaking of HIS body. The resurrection of the dead. God’s world is now brimming with the hope of resurrection—with new hope, with new possibilities, with new destiny.

This is where their turn starts. They go, “Jesus, our eyes are open. We see you and we believe you.” Here’s what they said to each other as they were sitting around this meal: How did we miss it? Did not our hearts burn—was your heart burning—when he was telling that story? Oh yeah, my heart was on fire when he opened up Moses, the Law, and the Prophets. Christianity is always more than an emotional experience, but it’s not less! Jesus meets us in all of our humanity. He stirs not only our minds, but our hearts to engage him, to walk with him, to follow him. He woos us as he speaks to our hearts. Here’s the thing. If you’re here this morning and you’ve been around this story, you know all the facts, but maybe, just maybe, you sense….God, I need this to be true for me and He’s saying it is this morning…..you may be having that same type of an experience. Because he does that, that’s the way that he works. He stirs not only our minds, but our hearts. Here’s what’s happening. They’re moving from the place of doubt to the place of faith. They’re moving from this place of despair to this place of hope.

Notice how subtle the shift has to be to turn from despair to hope? The term that they use to talk about their despair, or we had hoped, was they crucified him, but we hoped that he was the Messiah. Now if you turn it just a little bit and make it they crucified him and that is HOW he became the Messiah and HOW he redeemed Israel, well then, that changes everything, does it not? It stirs our hope. Here’s the beautiful thing about this story — God is unwilling to solve the problem of pain and death and sin from a distance. He’s an incarnate, intimate God who does not solve it from a distance but solves it from inside. He steps into it! By his very blood and by his very life he heals us. If you’re here this morning and you’re going, “Hey, Paulson, why in the world should Jesus walking out of the grave, 2000 years ago, stir hope in me?” Here’s why: Because in walking out of the grave he takes your weakness and he gives you his strength. He takes your guilt and he gives you his grace. He takes your pain and he gives you his promise. He takes your sin and you get his righteousness. He takes your defeat and he hands you his victory. He takes your despair and he gives you his joy. He takes your death and he gives you his life. Welcome to the hope of the resurrection, that in Him the story is not done. When we move in resurrection direction, we start to have our despair turned into hope because we know a God who’s worthy of our hope. I will passionately invite you this morning to recklessly put your hope in him. Because He’s worthy of it.

They (the disciples) go back seven miles that same night and here’s what they say. They tell their friends that the story’s true. I can’t explain it all, but we met him on that road. That all of our hopes are found in him. Death didn’t get the final say. The Lord is risen indeed!! They say, “Oh yeah, and he appeared to Peter, too.” As if to say, “You can never be too far gone. You can never be too messed up. You can never have such a dark mark next to your name that the cross of Jesus is unable to redeem it.” And so, they move from death to live, from despair to hope, from doubt to faith. This is the turning that happens when they say, “Oh, we don’t need to stay in Emmaus now. We can go back to the place of crucifixion. We can go back to the place of death, and we can recognize that it’s in THAT place that our God speaks life.”

If you’ve lost a loved one, like I have, this day is significant, is it not? I prayed with somebody this last week from our congregation who was close to taking her last breath and as we prayed for her, we just spoke resurrection over life because it’s true! Sin does not get the final word. Death does not get the final say. That’s true of our lives SOMEDAY in the future and it’s true of your life TODAY. If you’ve made some bad decisions like Peter and you’ve walked away, this story is for you. If you’ve buried some dreams and life turned out nothing like you hoped or dreamed or expected, this story is for you. Because resurrection power is not just something for someday, it’s something for TODAY. The weak are made strong, the ashes are turned into beauty, the mourning is turned into joy, because resurrection declares that the end of the story is never the end of the story. God is at work and He gets the final word. The final word is love. The final word is his goodness. The final word is life. The final word is resurrection.

I don’t know what road you’re walking down or what direction you’re going along the road of life. I only know this, that a turn towards resurrection changes EVERYTHING! I think there’s some of us in this room today where God’s inviting you to make a turn. We don’t have problems we need to solve, we have a direction we need to change. For some of you, the direction is…man, I need to put my faith in Jesus today. It changes everything. Maybe today is, “Jesus, I need you. I’m turning towards hope. I’m choosing hope today. I’m not living in depression. I’m not living in anxiety. I’m not living in sadness and sorrow anymore today, I’m choosing that the resurrection can speak a better word over my life.” Maybe that’s your turn today. Maybe your turn is simply to believe that this God speaks life where there’s death. Today, it’s not just THEIR turn along the road to Emmaus, today it’s YOUR turn. The road you’re walking….I think Jesus is inviting you to turn around and walk towards him.

I want to share with you a story of somebody from our church who made this turn. As you watch her story, would you ask God what turn he’s inviting you to make in your life? {Video begins.}

My name is Rhonda. I’ve been coming to South Fellowship for about 18 months now, October 2015. When I graduated from high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life so I answered an ad in the newspaper and joined a rock band. Traveled the country a little bit with this band and played in clubs. Through that band I started a relationship with the bass player. After a period of time, I became pregnant and we had a little girl. We decided we should grow up and get married. We did. We had premarital counseling. Through the premarital counseling, we joined the church. God opened up another opportunity and we attended another church and he was asked to come on full-time there. We became a family serving God. It was wonderful to be doing what God created you to do and I loved every minute of it.

One day, out of the blue, after nearly 20 years of marriage, I got a phone call. It was an old boyfriend from high school. I’m happily married for 20 years, I’ve got three kids…. That was pretty much the end of the phone call. At the end, he said, “If ever things change, call me.” I don’t know why, but three days later I called him back and began a phone relationship for about a month before I met him and began an affair. For about another month. I knew better. I knew I was sinning. I knew all of it, but I still chose to be selfish. I bit hard on a lot of lies. Then I was caught and confronted. My husband was completely shocked and devastated. I wouldn’t accept phone calls or anything. I ran out to my boyfriend’s house. The day after this all happened, an email went out to the entire Worship Arts Ministry, which was about 90 people. (It) spelled out what had happened. It was so humiliating and I was so full of shame. People that had looked up to me—(those) I prayed with for them… Here I was.

We got divorced and I began a life with the boyfriend. My relationship with the church after that was non-existent. I didn’t go back to church except for an occasional Christmas service at some obscure church where no one would know me. My son Joe wanted to attend South with his friend one day. He’d been attending another youth group and his friend invited him to attend. So I walked in. I just remember feeling “Ugh! Does anybody know me? Does anybody recognize me?” I just don’t want anybody…. I felt such judgment coming from people from the church. I didn’t want people to see me and judge me. I sat in the very back and just…. The music played….I don’t even remember what the songs were anymore, but it was…. I just couldn’t hold back the tears. I just felt God turning me around—You don’t have to go that way anymore. You can come back. For a few months it felt like I was just slowly drinking a glass of water finally. Just finally getting rehydrated.

Things started to become clear to me. I started to pray. I started to ask God, seek Him. I started to read. God has shown his grace through so many people to me, through all of this with coming back to Him. Everyone of my children have all encouraged me, forgiven me, cheered me on. They’ve been amazing. And my ex-husband Todd and his wife, Linda….the grace that they’ve been able to show….it can only come from God. It changed my shame and guilt into just regret.

The most surprising piece of the journey of grace—God was nudging me to get back into worship. My daughter Molly had been on my case for a long time. “Mom, you need to get back to it. You need to get back and sing again and do what you were made to do.” I’d always told her, “Molly, that part of my life is over, I think. That part’s in the past.” I met with Ryan and asked, “Do you have a problem with me just speaking to Aaron to see if maybe I could begin to participate a little bit?” I received more grace there. It feels amazing to sing again and to not have to be anonymous about it anymore. I can let everybody know that this is what God’s done for me. You don’t have to go that way anymore. You can come back. And I’ve come back. {END}

You don’t have to go that way anymore. You can turn around. You can come home. The arms of our God are wide open. If you think you’re too far gone this morning, I just want to tell you that there’s an empty grave that tells you you can never be too far gone. If you think you’ve screwed up too much to be a recipient of God’s grace, I just want you to know that when Jesus came out of the grave He came holding the keys to death and Hades and he has said, “I am the resurrection AND the life.” When you turn to him, BOTH are yours in him. This morning, it’s your turn! It’s YOUR turn! What turn is Jesus inviting you to make. Is it the turn of putting your faith it him for the first time? I just want to encourage you, if that’s where you’re at this morning and you sense the stirring in your heart, that’s the Spirit inviting you home. That’s your turn this morning. You can pray simply, “Jesus, I put my faith in you. I turn back to you. I believe in your resurrection and I believe that your death conquered my sin. You’re my Lord, you’re my God. My faith is in you.”

Maybe it’s a turn out of despair this morning and you’re turn is, “God, I believe there is hope. Would you show yourself faithful?” Maybe your turn is “I no longer have to fear the fact that I will one day take my last breath in this earthly body, because Jesus has promised it will not be your last breath.” It’s YOUR turn this morning. It’s your turn. {Ryan invites ushers forward to hand out wrist bands.}

Let’s pray. Jesus, for the people in this space that you’re inviting to put their faith in you, would you just draw them and confirm that in their heart today? For all of us, Lord, the direction that we walk determines the life that we live, and we want to choose to walk in the direction of the resurrection, because we know that it’s in THAT direction that we walk into your future. Where faith overcomes doubt, where hope overcomes despair, and where life overcomes death. Jesus, this morning, we thank you for the fact that you walked out of the grave and we can turn and walk TOWARDS you. And we do this morning. It’s in your name we pray. Amen.