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The Spirit & The Water | Ethan Renoe

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The Spirit & The Water | Ethan Renoe2022-07-10T11:27:04-06:00

Guest Speaker Dr. Jeff Brodsky of JOY International

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we looked for the statue of liberty

I did the first one I’m looking no anyway alex is slowly becoming a very very good friend we meet on a regular basis and as I do with tom and I love it here love the people you have been such an incredible blessing to join international uh more than maybe some of you even know but it’s been incred it’s amazing all that we have been able to accomplish because of the support that we receive from this church not only on a regular monthly basis is a missionary organization for you but beyond that with a new curriculum that we’re developing and the amount that the church here has given we couldn’t have done it without you so and I’m going to I’ll share that with you in a bit so I want to get rolling with this because this is this is only the second time that I’ve ever done this message I spent a lot of hours literally more than 100 hours trying to put together a new message based on the 12 years that I’ve lived barefoot which I’m going to share with you in a bit but anyway these are two of my granddaughters it’s leah and emma and the reason I have this up there is because wait I need to take a I need to take a look and look okay he’s just so young he wouldn’t it wouldn’t

okay there’s no children in here

where okay that changes things all right um I’m very cautious when I’m speaking if there’s even one child in the room it’ll change the way I share uh so even with one I’m very very sensitive to the things that I speak and I will not compromise when it comes to that so as adults you will have to read between the lines of what I’m saying to have a clear understanding of what I’m talking about joy internationals devoted to the rescue restoration reintegration and prevention of children teens young women and even boys and men that are trafficked and sold into a certain trade I don’t think I have to paint a picture for what that means when they are sold into brothels and places like that so and when I say joy international I started it just a few years ago 1981 we are now in our 41st year I I know it I know I don’t look near even you probably think I started it from birth but so why do I do this work why would I devote my life to rescuing these children teens and by the way when I say children for many many years I have I went deep undercover this was before I was barefoot I went deep undercover in india thailand cambodia belize um

so many you’ll see the number of countries I’ve personally been to 77 countries I travel quite a bit and when I say that we rescue children from brothels I have personally been in brothels where there were children as young as four years old there is no worse crime perpetrated against a child since the dawn of creation nobody can convince me of it I could share stories with you that would you would not believe some of the things the depth of depravity that goes on in our world today knows no bounds you cannot imagine things that I can’t even share publicly even if there wasn’t a child in here because of how how heinous and how nefarious some of these things are and what they do to these children I am going to share one thing about something that I learned in uganda but I’ll cover it briefly

so I do this work because I was reading the red that’s what I call it this was many years ago I was reading the red I came across this verse the least of these Jesus speak I read in the red is when I read the words of Jesus you know that um but I when I saw that I’m I’m someone that is a nut for finding out the truth um and when I saw that I thought okay wait what do you mean the least of these who’s that why weren’t you more specific and I did a search for years on who the least of these were I went uh to africa children of biafra I was in india uh working uh to look to minister in leper colonies I thought man can’t get any lower than this what happened with their lives and one thing after another until I found human trafficking and what was happening to these children my search ended this is me this is to me God spoke to me that these were the least of these for me I even wrote a book about it titled the least of these which challenges you to search for the least of these in your life Jesus came to set the captives free the spirit of the lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor he has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners in recovery of sight for the blind to set the oppressed and the captives free I have one goal when I rescue these girls most of them stop believing in God years ago they would plead with God to set them free from their bondage and after pleading for maybe days weeks months years they give up all belief in God I believe that God has called me to be a fivefold ministry evangelist who’s going to tell a child in a brothel

having to service 10 to 15 men a day every day seven days a week until they’re no longer desirable and they’re tossed in the street like trash if they haven’t already killed themselves or died from exposure or disease or being beaten to death because they didn’t perform properly

when I see one of these girls rescued

and put into a safe house and come to an understanding that it wasn’t God that did this and you see them have their lives turned around then you see them during a praise and worship service worshiping God with such passion that’s it for me that’s the end result that I look for

boy that would have been good to have on this tom I have a video of dozens and dozens of girls worshiping God all that were rescued that’d be good to have on this this is in the philippines this should not be happening to any child

it’s always about the one there’s 27 million you think that slavery ended in 1865 with the emancipation proclamation

there are more slaves today by the millions than there were back then back then they were in the hundreds of thousands today there’s 27 million three to four hundred thousand in america

excuse me two to three hundred thousand here in our own country

slavery did not end in 1865 it was just made illegal

so my barefoot journey july 19 2010 today’s june 26 2022 that’s 4 360 days now if you calculate it in three weeks that’ll be 12 years when I say totally barefoot yep totally barefoot I haven’t had a shoe or a sock on my feet not not even cheating in my own house when I’m alone I have not had a shoe or sock on my feet in almost 12 years july 19 2010 I was at a garbage dump this garbage dump this was in phnom penh cambodia this circle here is there’s a child up there uh that’s why I circled that they look for fresh food they live in the dunk they live there they’ll actually burrow holes in the bottom and live inside the garbage when the dump trucks come they’ll converge on it maybe they’ll get a half piece eating a chicken or a banana or an apple or something but they live in the dump I was there with a group working with joyce

and we were feeding them a bowl of rice with pieces of chicken in it and I was standing there on the side watching uh probably about a dozen or so of them eating and I noticed they were all barefoot two of them had some old flip-flops on but all the rest were all barefoot well when I went back to my room that night I took off my shoes and socks and

as I was taking them off I felt I was talking to God about my experience that day I talked to him all the time and as I was talking with him I felt that he was impressing on me to live barefoot in solidarity with impoverished and trafficked children and I know when God is speaking to me as you’ll see in a minute and I’m thinking what what you want it was almost like an abraham moment where I thought I was gonna fall on the floor laughing um you want me to do what you want me to live barefoot and I felt that he was impressing on me to live barefoot for one year and I thought how can I do that I live at 9 000 feet elevation in bailey colorado what would I do in the winter I travel extensively I’ve been to 77 countries I was in uganda last week uh not last week about a month and a half ago I was in alaska just two weeks ago I traveled quite a bit I thought what would I do in the winter so I felt God’s showing me that he would take care of me as long as I wasn’t foolish like being in alaska in the winter last year when it was 19 below zero and yes I walked around in 19 below zero weather I’ve learned how to be cautious and when my feet have reached their limit it’s actually worse walking on hot pavement in a place like indio or wherever it may be and the the hot pavements really are painful but no com I do not compromise

well anyway um I come home come out of the airport my wife is waiting by the car and she sees me walking up she said I’m wearing your shoes so I told her what happened she said what do you mean you’re going to live barefoot what are you going to do in the winter I said I’ll get cold feet I said no seriously hon what are you going to do in the winter I said I will seriously get cold feet said what about the snow I said it’ll get even colder in the snow I’ll be yeah so well anyway God gave me the perfect wife she’s out there by my table and uh when it snows she insists on doing this I told her she doesn’t have to but she does she’ll sweep a path to the car she’ll turn on the engine turn on the heater put a towel on the floorboard thank you God for gail um he gave me the perfect wife for me she’s such an incredible blessing well one year of course all my friends family they thought I was out of my mind and

one year passed july 19 2011 this grandpa that looks like santa claus was the happiest man on earth I thought oh my gosh I actually went a full year barefoot I wake up somewhere between 1 30 to 2 30 in the morning every day seven days a week no alarm clock that’s just when this brain just all of a sudden starts acting up well I had I had put a pair of white socks on my ottoman in front of my couch I woke up went to the couch I thought I just wanted to feel those socks on my feet I put my this is what happened you can choose to believe this or not this is what happened I put my left foot on the ottoman I took the sock put it on my toes went to pull it on my foot and it was as if there was a tug of war I could not get the socks past my toes as much as I pulled it was like some force was pulling the other way and I’m thinking what the heck so

so I just cried out I said God what do you want from me I just went for a whole year

and that still small voice spoke to me in a way that only God could these are the words that I heard verbatim he only had to say it once

keep going

those children are still out there

that was enough for me I

waited for my wife my wife woke up that morning and comes out she looks over my shoulder and said oh I thought you would have had your socks on by now what happened so I said well

I told her what I told her what happened and she said what are you going to do she said I said I’m going to keep going she said for how long I said until one of three things happened God speaks to me and tells me it’s time the last child is rescued

or I’m dead I said as long as my going barefoot will motivate even one person a year to action in a way that could help me to rescue even one more child a year he said I’ll go barefoot for the rest of my life and now 12 years later

when people ask me why are you barefoot I tell them just one word I’m barefoot for one word obedience

because I believe on july 19th 2010 God asked me to I’ll say well why would God ask you to do that I don’t know you’d have to ask him I just know what I heard and I had two choices it’s either yes when God asks you to do something you have just two choices yes or no the word maybe should be taken out of the dictionary it’s a non-word maybe is another way of saying no think about it uh would you do this for me well maybe so you’re saying no because if you’re not saying yes and it’s no and even the scriptures tell us let your yes be yes and you know be no you notice there’s no and let your maybe be maybe so it’s either yes or no and I said yes

to obey because people tell me all the time the reason I put this verse up here over the last 12 years you can’t imagine how many times I’ve heard how sacrificial my life is the self-sacrifice and how noble and how altruistic and how wonderful it is what I’m doing tom you think I like being barefoot you think that because I’ve been barefoot for the last 12 years that I’ve embraced the barefoot lifestyle you think because there’s thousands of barefooters all over the world that see me as their guru that I’ve been enjoy and have embraced the barefoot lifestyle I can assure you I have not I

I hate being barefoot I do you can’t imagine that the snide remarks

the dirty looks people talking behind your back

you cannot imagine

try it I dare you I challenge you one day 24 hours you wake up one day no shoes no socks until you wake up the next day no matter what you have to do bank restaurant supermarket I don’t care what you have to do driving all of it I dare you and you’ll see what I’ve experienced for 4 360 days

I do it out of obedience obedience is better than sacrifice I don’t consider what I’m doing sacrificial at all I’m doing it strictly out of obedience to what I believe God has told me to do or ask me to do even when it doesn’t make sense even when it appears to be the act of a fool because the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men I have to believe that God had a reason that he had a purpose for me to live barefoot I didn’t know what it was I thought it was just simply to make people aware of the traffic of human trafficking it’s gone so far beyond that first corinthians 4 10 we are fools for christ’s sake

God asking me to live totally barefoot was pretty foolish of him to do by our standards perhaps it was foolish of me for believing it was God who asked me I believe it was God and that he obviously had a reason beyond my finite understanding so how did I know it was really God

how did I know because for me to say yes to this I had to know that it was God asking me it had to be him or I would be there would be something really I would be emotionally disturbed

which there are some people that would probably know

it begins by listening for his voice

I am so sensitive to the voice of God if you if any of you ever got my first book stepping into adulthood I have a whole story just on that of years ago um when God spoke to me the first time how do you pray you think about this people praying so many different ways they’ll pray standing like this hands raised hands clasped on their knees laying in their bed sitting on their couch walking there’s so many different ways that you can pray now isn’t it interesting that when you pray I see this all the time you pray you petition God you give him all of the desires of your heart like he tells us to do in the scriptures give me the desires of your heart your heart and I will surely give it delight yourself in the lord and I will surely give you the desires of your heart but have you ever noticed people pray they petition God they ask him for so many different things and then at the end of the prayer they say in Jesus name in Jesus name amen at least me I and every brother that way and then immediately they go get a sandwich turn on the television get in their car do whatever they do whatever go to sleep but I wonder how many times we pray and we say in Jesus name amen then we get up and walk away and can you imagine God sitting up there going

didn’t you want an answer hello I was just about to answer you but you walked away it tells us in the scriptures to be still and know that I’m God it tells us to give ear to his voice when I finish praying when I’m alone and I’m praying and I’m petitioning God I then shut up and say okay I’m ready I’m ready I’m ready to hear you and then I’ll just be quiet sometimes five minutes ten minutes sometimes an hour and after a while when I feel that okay there’s nothing he has to say to me then I’ll go forward but you need to practice that learn to be sensitive to the possibility that God may want to talk to you his sheep follow him these are the words of Jesus she follow him because they know his voice God is the same yesterday today and forever does God really talk to people today yes he does it’s the same yesterday today and forever you know when he started talking to people when he created the first one from adam until today God has been speaking to people to his creation when God asks you to do something it’s important to know that it’s him speaking to you especially when he asks you to do something outrageous or in the eyes of man foolish

the foolishness of God remember is wiser than the wisdom of men there had to be no doubt there had to be absolutely no doubt that God was talking to me in order for me to go forward with this

so there was the process of elimination I had three choices just three it was either the enemy talking to me is it possible that satan was talking to me and trying to get me to do something so outrageous why would he do that there would be no reason for him to do that he’s not stupid he knows me he knows I’m going to do something like this I’m going to do it not to glorify and honor him I’m going to do it to glorify and honor God I’m going to do it to fight his evil ways why would he tell me to do something that I’m going to use as a tool to help destroy a stronghold that he has all over the world so it didn’t make sense that it was the enemy so next it would be was it myself well if it was myself saying to do this then I would be a lunatic it would I mean it really would be the act of a fool to say yeah hey I’m going to live barefoot with no purpose no vision why would I do something like that especially when I hate being barefoot so the only other option it had to be God has it been worth it has it been worth these last 12 years of me being barefoot it’s amazing how much has happened since july 19 2010 and the number of people we have been able to reach the number of hundreds of thousands of people who have heard about the plight of children being trafficked and human trafficking and how the resources that we have gained as a result and by the way I never never went barefoot with any thought whatsoever of it being used as a fundraiser it was a small group in a little town of coshocton ohio a group of youth who in my third year of being barefoot after I spoke there the youth pastor contacted me and said dr jeff you really motivated these young people they want to do a fundraiser for you they want to walk a mile barefoot called the barefoot mile I’m getting ahead of myself um is that okay I said well sure they said will you walk with us I said if you get just three thousand dollars in pledges I’ll fly back there well they went ten thousand dollars above that they raised thirteen thousand dollars at the first one the the best barefoot mile so far that’s raised the most was in alaska where they raised two hundred thousand dollars

and that started this

and joy international who have done six police trainings training anti-human trafficking and juvenile protections police throughout cambodia and tactical operations and firearms training as well as our swat team and they’ve also donated to individual cases that we’ve done the use of numbers this isn’t a statistic these are a thousand lives that have been transformed these were a thousand lives that were in some of the most brutal difficult situations and now they have an opportunity to live a life that’s completely different joy international came alongside with us and helped you train they’ve done multiple trainings with the cambodian national police and our swat team that has resulted in a real professionalism that leads to the success but not only that they’ve helped fund the raids themselves and that’s critical for us to be successful one of the biggest

factors conviction and imprisonment of the perpetrators so when I saw that this was what was happening with this

there’s currently been over 3 000 children teens and young women rescued in all of these different countries it’s been incredible when don brewster was talking about the training being critical critical to their success our director director of tactical operations in global police training has now trained all every police officer fighting human the anti-human trafficking juvenile protection police in the country of cambodia one training would cost joy international about fifteen thousand dollars well for several years we did about five a year so you can see the cost and the expense of doing those trainings we now do trainings all over the the world beyond cambodia

I’m going to go through these pretty quick because you can you can actually go to my website my website is very easy to remember we’re joined international just go to joy.org and you’ll see our website it’s pretty extensive with all the things that are on there and I’ll talk about these in detail about the barefoot mile walks the joy shop with things like this bracelet shirts bags and purses so many different items many other braces types of bracelets things like that all everything on the joy shop is made by the girls that have been rescued all of them are made by survivors they’d have to have a job when they come out and they have to have job training uh awareness campaigns where we train I I was just in alaska uh just several weeks ago where we did airport trainings uh and we trained in the airports there becau and all over wherever we’re invited because I don’t if you’re a set of eyes if you push a wheelchair carry luggage if you’re a gate agent if you work in a restaurant a car rental clerk whatever you do in an airport we train you with situational awareness to recognize the situation around you give you an example one man who was one of the managers for united airlines he saw something it immediately took action and as a result a nine or ten year old girl was rescued from the back of a van she was being trafficked right out of the van this is what he told the police I never would have noticed that if it wasn’t for the training I received from joy international all that makes every training that we do worth it for that one girl

I talked about the international police training advocates advocate groups you can have right here they’re teams of groups of volunteers who come alongside our partner restoration homes to strengthen and encourage their work they meet on a monthly basis to pray write notes of encouragement prepare small gifts to bless the staff and survivors christmas sponsorship is pretty self-explanatory but that’s also for survivors workers there’s so much that’s involved with the christmas sponsorship there are churches that get involved with this because it’s an incredible blessing not only to survivors and workers here in america but also overseas in places like uganda and you can again see all of this on our website uh the retreats is something that’s brand new it’s incredible what these tr retreats are doing for uh workers that these are trafficking service providers who are so abused many times the girls will physically abuse them they’ll they’ll spit on them they’ll cuss them they’ll beat them they they’re really some of the girls are really tough so sometimes these gals need training which we do self-defense training for them and then we also now have these retreats to give them a time of rest and impartation from experts in the field this we just started doing last year when I read the response of some of the gals that were ministered to I told our gal on our staff that does this I said I want to see these increased the response from these women were incred was incredible and because they’re the ones that minister to the gals that need the ministering to the survivors I really wanted to see this continue uh emergency relief fund I’m going to show you more about that resources for parents you know these predators one of the places that they that they look for teenage girls church youth groups believe it or not they train teenage boys how to pray p-r-e-y on girls in youth groups so that’s one of the areas that if you go to our website and you see the resources for parents there is a myriad there’s so much available we don’t charge for anything with that all of that is free the children’s curriculum um I’m going to show you more about that in a second the book study is just literally you could put together a small group and do a group discussion uh that has been uh developed for my book the least of these which you can get out there if you’d like um the 6-8 freedom project if it wasn’t for this church and the amount that was given we had to raise somewhere around 80 000 more than half of it was given by south fellowship and you’ll be unquestionably in the credits but besides that I cannot even begin to thank you this is a curriculum a 12-week video and workbook curriculum we were asked to do it by sunlight homeschool curriculum and it starts in september we it’s incredible this 12-week video and workbook curriculum will be teaching young people about it it was really initially based on my children’s book um why are you barefoot and now it’s been turned into this curriculum not only for uh children in elementary but we have an elementary middle and high school division for for these 12 weeks and it’s teaching them how to recognize that modern day slavery is still happening in their world today and what they can do to help fight it by becoming a modern-day abolitionist um it’s so so powerful and we’ve come to realize it’s going to have the potential of reaching anywhere from five to seven million homeschoolers here in america alone so I’ll never be able to thank south enough for what you’ve done in helping us to develop this empowering education I love this part beyond rescues this gal here anna she is now a nurse uh she is one of the gals that we’ve supported the girl next to her she is in this in this photo here she’s uh 15 she’s 15 when she was 12 she was forced to be married she’s a rescued child bride this is a whole new area that joy international has now gotten into with uh rescuing child brides and preventing child rights when she was 13 she had her first child I think her child is now four she wants to be a midwife she’s now going to school for that her sister here who fortunately is younger one year younger than her fortunately was not forced into a child marriage but she wants to be a nurse and then of course all these there’s uh 32 children here these are all girls I know that some of them may look like boys because their hair is so short but these are all girls except for the guy in the middle that looks like santa claus this gal I love her

she made this I told her her name is anna too and I told her uh that the first time I speak after coming back from africa I would wear this shirt so this is the first time that I’m wearing it in the public but uh we’re going to have a whole mess of her things on the uh website not just things like shirts but she does shirts and dresses and handbags and purses and backpacks all like this all beautifully uh colored

that says kampala international university and you can’t see it here it’s 2022 from april and there’s a young girl her name is christine this says five and a half years it’s a five and a half year uh five and a half years with 11 semesters for a young woman who was accepted into this program it doesn’t I I can’t you can’t well here it says bachelor of medicine and uh or and then for surgery she’s going to be the first female surgeon in the entire district uh in uganda where she is her name is christine five and a half years all those semesters the total not per semester the total for all those semesters is eighteen thousand dollars for her to go to uh medical school um which by the way I am in the middle of raising that I’m actually looking for female surgeons that might want to take this on as a project but we do accept funds from men

and you don’t have to be a surgeon

I’m so excited I told her that I will come back for her graduation ceremony so now uganda now this was in uganda our recent team learned something that’s happening with children who are trafficked and severely abused by witch doctors which doctors are very real and they are probably one of the most evil people that I’ve ever met anywhere in the world who kidnapped children while they walked 11 miles every day the water system in kosese uganda went down from floods and as a result the children had to walk 11 miles five and a half miles there five and a half miles back there these were empty back they were full when one this size was full it would be 40 pounds well what we learned

when I say the depths of depravity have no bounds I’m not kidding I’m going to share something it’s very rough to hear I’ll be cautious with the way I share it because of the child that’s here but you’ll understand what I’m saying when I say it what we learned was on the path while these children were getting the water they would leave at 5 30 in the morning and not get back until after sometime afternoon they did this every day seven days a week because of the water system being down they needed the water for their homes their homes would just be a hut

they had to carry up to 40 pounds of water over 5 miles

you’ll notice they’re all they’re barefoot

the witch doctors would hire young men

they would wait for the children to go on the path they would kidnap both boys and girls

the boys they would cut off a certain body part and put that body part in a jar and sell it to businessmen who thought that if they had that body part in their homes it would give them prowess in a certain area of their life

or it would give them good fortune in their business the sick thoughts of of men today the girls they would do the same thing they would cut off a certain body part so that they would receive no pleasure and then they would sell them to men in the middle east who would have them as part of their harems or just as slaves for one thing only um when I heard this I said

what if the water project what if it was fixed they said well that would probably it would help a lot I said well how much would it cost they said seventy seven hundred dollars my director of outreach and missions was actually there it’s america right now she’s in cambodia and I contacted my director my executive director gina and I said gina I’m not waiting to do a fundraiser for this I’m not sending out a letter at least not right now I need you to send seventy seven hundred dollars to pastor allison the director of operations for drawing international there immediately immediately I want to see this water project uh fixed done as soon as possible so they did it was fixed we even received a letter from the uh ugandan parliament thanking us because it helped over a thousand families but it also did this by the way when I was there these these photos were taken when I was there uh about six weeks ago

I love this

hello

you see I’m the president of joy international come on that has to give you joy when you see something like that especially when you

especially when you know what they were going through before that was fixed the joy I received from that is indescribable

by the way when I started joy international it was a day that I was reading the red it was 1980 just before I started joy I was reading read john 15 11 Jesus speaking where he said I speak these things to you that my joy would be in you so that your joy would be complete and I found in my life if I put Jesus first other second yourself third that’s the way to experience real joy j-o-y Jesus others you here’s one simple way you can join us in the fight against child trafficking attend a barefoot mile july 23rd coming up next month now dozens of children are safe after they were rescued 82 children across the nation were rescued I remember saying to my wife that gail as long as my being barefoot will motivate even one person a year to action in a way that would help me to rescue even one more child I’ll go barefoot the rest of my life a man accused of trying to sell his four-year-old daughter on craigslist police arrested a total of six people tonight we no longer can sit by and ignore the truth about what’s happening new at five a long time soccer is now in custody tonight an anchorage man is charged with trafficking women around the state

the barefoot mile is growing in a way that I never expected it to on july 19 2010 when I uh

when I first decided to go barefoot in solidarity with uh and trafficked children I had no thought of it being used as a fundraiser it was that small church youth group in gushantin ohio that started it and from there it’s just grown and I remember just standing on the ledge there getting ready to speak and watching the crowd gather and I was fighting back the tears because to see that whole town square begin to fill up with people

taking off their shoes

I cannot tell you what it feels like to know that I’m not alone it’s when we join forces and work together and put our funds together to fight this that’s how we see success awareness is good but awareness without action is apathy if I make you aware of something and you don’t do anything about it what have I accomplished when I speak I speak to hopefully motivate people to action in a way that will help to set another child free by getting involved with the barefoot mile you can literally help set another child free with every step you take thank you

4 360 days equals about 104 650 hours that I’ve been barefoot I’m asking you for just one just one would you join me july 23rd and walk around in clement park around the lake just one uh less than an hour takes about 35-40 minutes I would love to have you as part of that and we still need help with volunteers you can get information at the table

that’s where it is saturday july 23rd clement park

awareness is good but this is my life mantra awareness without action is apathy if I make you aware of something and you choose to do nothing about it what have I accomplished nothing

this to me is the most beautiful sound on earth there’s no greater sound to me there’s no song there’s no music nothing more beautiful to me than this sound children shouldn’t have to cry themselves to sleep at night in pain from their abuse

and that was during one of our missions trips which by the way we’ve had people from here at south young people join us on our missions trips we have them to cambodia now to uganda to belize just to let you know these are my two books why are you barefoot for children the least of these for adults I cannot thank you enough for the privilege of sharing my heart here at south um this is a very special congregation to me very special friends here I consider you all family so thank you so much I’ll be at my table in the back if you have any questions thank you thank you from the depths of my heart for being a part a big part of the ministry of joy international you have helped to set thousands of children free from their bondage

Guest Speaker Dr. Jeff Brodsky of JOY International2022-07-14T13:42:49-06:00

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well hey good morning south oh it’s so good to be together and worship with you on this holiday weekend don’t you think I think we should thank our worship leaders for bringing us into glory I know I needed worship this morning I don’t know about you but it is so great to be together and we know that on this holiday weekend there may be a few that trickled in that are new with us and so we just want to just offer you a really special warm welcome and we would love to get to know you if you meet us in the back at that welcome center then we can tell you a little bit about who we are we’d love to find out who you are and help you get connected here you might have also noticed that there are still tents up in the lobby and plenty ways to get connected through groups specific support groups new life groups that are launching and

you can feel free to sign up in any of those today and my big announcement is really come back next week because we’ve got some fun things happening uh we are gonna have our fall festival potluck where we’re gonna have a party in the parking lot uh we’re bringing the chicken you guys bring sides or desserts to share and share some of your yummies with us and then we can enjoy one another’s homemade cooking but we also have hired a country line dance instructor and some bouncy houses for those kiddos out there and we want you to come and just party with us and get to know one another together so it’ll be a fun time but we also want to come back because we’re starting a new series next week this fall pastor alex has decided that we are going to study the book of acts so as we have looked at the life of Jesus this is the beginning of

the movement of followers of the resurrection and during this time in this season I think it’s really going to be great for our hearts to be reminded that the movement of followers of the resurrection is still powerful today so come back and and follow along with this series um yeah and then as we transition in between weeks we’re going to have pastor dan come and share from the letter to the ephesians and we want to let you know that if there’s any other information that’s coming out we do you can get our app or you can look at us online and find out more of those details but I want to transition and just pray for dan as he gets ready to share with us after all of his battle rattle this week that’s what he calls it when he studies God’s word and is preparing it to bring to you all so Jesus we thank you so much for dan and thank you for

all the battle rattle that he’s gone through many many many years for south and especially for this week and God I thank you that he has a deep deep heart for this community and this church and I just pray that you would use these words to remind us of who you are who you’ve made us to be and how we can continue to grow in strength and knowledge of who you are in Jesus name we pray amen amen hey thanks yvonne good morning everyone that’s good to hear um you know I’m I’m glad that I can preach today uh you know from ephesians chapter one this is a terrific passage and I’d just like to say those songs that aaron and jen chose were were terrific they’re right along with this passage that we’re going to look at so jan and aaron thank you very much and the whole band thank you for the the part that you played in leading us in

worship I really appreciate that and for those of you who are online uh this is the first sunday of the month even though it’s labor day a holiday but we are going to be taking communion at the end of this um at the end of this message and if you want to run and get whatever you know some elements if you don’t have any grape juice get some coke I don’t know but uh just get ready and and we’ll all take together whether you’re online or whether you’re here but we’re glad I really thank you all for coming out this morning on labor day weekend you know labor day is just one of those holidays that does not excite me um I don’t know about you it’s nice to have a day off I I agree but there’s just something about labor day it’s the end of summer uh you know when I grew up it was on the east coast and on the east coast we actually did start

school the day after labor day you know it’s different here you’ve been going for a month already but uh it was like man when labor day came yeah you we drove home from camp or wherever we had been on labor day and it was just this empty feeling oh no school starting um you know so so I thought okay we’re gonna we’re gonna preach and teach on labor day so let’s find out something about labor day so I got online you know it it started in 1895 I think it was governor uh president grover cleveland uh kind of set the day aside it was a you can imagine labor day so it’s about the laborers the workers in our country um and they were working hard for uh yeah for the rights I mean I I was amazed as I read you know they would work uh 12-hour days now I know for some of the nurses among us 12 hours that’s nothing but you know for the

rest of us 12 hours a day six days a week is a lot of work and then you have one day off sunday if you had that off and the thing that kind of tugged at my heart was that um kids were in the same boat especially children of working-class parents who who were very poor and they had to work as well six days a week 12 hours a day let me kind of jump back in time a little bit eight this picture’s around 1885 1886 or so and a few years after this picture was taken in denver this is downtown denver there was a fellow by the name of george eddy george eddie was a young man in boston and he felt kind of he felt called to to work with his working class kids who yeah worked their fingers to the bone and really their parents couldn’t afford any kind of education for them so he got on a train and he came from boston all the way out here to denver and he

started to educate these kids who work six days a week and guess what it was called it was called sunday school sunday school and on sunday he would have classes for these kids and he came and he started working in the southern part of denver at that point and had about 46 unruly uh kids you know because they didn’t want to go to school but uh their parents really made them because the parents wanted them to have a chance and they had the three r’s reading writing and religion wasn’t quite arithmetic and writing’s not exactly an r but they they kind of pushed into that and what they would do I was amazed they would read the bible they would write the bible and then he would teach the bible so you know reading writing and religion um eventually some of the parents came to this george eddy and said is there anything

for us yeah we work six days a week too and you know we’d like something so he went to the presbyterian that was in denver at that time and he said hey do you mind if I investigate starting a church down here and they said sure so he wrote a letter to his father who was back in new jersey who had been a pastor all his life and his father said yeah I’d be willing to come out there and plant a church so he came out to denver and in about 1890 uh they took the parents of the folks that were in sunday so the kids in sunday school and they started a church and that church became south presbyterian which we eventually became south fellowship out of south presbyterian I just think it’s so cool to realize the roots of what this church is and you know I still see it today I still see in many of you that that hunger to have purpose and to have

meaning and to make a difference in this world that we’re in and we’re going to be looking at ephesians chapter one because in this passage there’s a prayer that paul gives and I think it’s a dynamite prayer I think it’s a prayer that applies to us today it applies to churches all around the world this is not just for the christians in ephesus back 2000 years ago this is for the church generation after generation after generation and it’s a church it’s a prayer for us here at south so um I’d like to just look at this this prayer for the church and and see what we can learn from this today uh let me just read for you ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere I have not stopped thanking God for you I pray for you constantly asking God the glorious father of our lord Jesus Christ to give you

spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance and I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him this is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms now he’s far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything in the world to come God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church and the church is his body it is made fully and complete by Christ who fills all things everywhere with himself and I would just

add that’s the south let’s pray father I thank you for this prayer I thank you for paul I thank you for the for the hearts for the passion that he has for these people in ephesus but lord I believe I believe somehow he saw down through the ages as well I’m not sure that I know you did and I know you saw us here today while paul was writing these words and you inspired paul in his writing so that they apply just as truthfully to us I praise you I thank you and I ask you to make them come alive to us today I would love you God we love you teach us I pray this in Jesus name amen amen you know I just want to start with that first verse that we read ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere I have not stopped thanking God for you now I just want to say that’s a great way to start a

prayer you know being grateful giving thanks and and I wonder maybe let me pull this back a little bit because one of the reasons I wanted to go on this is I would love to challenge us to pray for our church and I wonder how have you prayed for south um oh lord that was a long sermon today dear God I pray that you would help the tech booth they have such a big job how do we pray for south fellowship I I love how paul starts this because of you the amazing faith you have in Jesus Christ and because of your love for all the saints I just can’t stop giving thanks for you um you know many times my context I guess I’d say or the situation which I find myself sometimes dictates how I pray I think of about a month ago I was on vacation and you think oh that’s great you probably had some great prayers on vacation well I’d like to say but I threw my

back out the first day of vacation and so I’m sitting there my prayers were mainly oh God this hurts oh lord could you please heal me uh father and I was just asking it was all about me let me tell you the context of this prayer here’s paul he’s in prison he’s under arrest now he may be in his own rented apartment we aren’t quite sure but if he was in his rental department he had guards at the door chances are he was in a prison cell chained to a guard and here he is he’s not saying hey guys don’t forget me I’m thrilled with what’s going on there but listen I’m in prison remember me no he says I give thanks for you guys I give thanks whenever I think of you and I hope that when we would launch into a prayer for south fellowship I hope that we could see just the gratefulness of what’s here um I love the the things that paul prays for you know and

says this is this is why I’m so grateful one is your strong faith in Jesus the strong faith um you know when I think of that oh we could go into a word study of what faith is you know but basically faith is faith you know it’s uh it’s trust yeah it’s it’s believing that Jesus is who he said he was it’s trust that what he did was enough that’s one of the reasons I love the songs that jen and aaron sang this morning because over and over there was that there was that message there’s nothing I can do to add to this there’s nothing we can do to make the res the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ any better it is so complete I like this statement uh there’s nothing I can do to make God love me more and there’s nothing I can do to make God love me less and I believe these ephesian christians believed that and they lived on that they set their

marker on that um yeah they had a strong faith in Jesus but it wasn’t just a strong faith in Jesus they also then went beyond that they had a love for the people around them they had a love for the saints they had a love for the other folks and and I would say hey in their context of their church and you know let’s face it sometimes we don’t always have choice of who is at our church and and sometimes yeah we would say well I don’t know if I choose that person to really sidle up next to and live a life of faith um you know what it’s okay because God’s love overcomes those things the love that God calls us to is not based upon how I feel about everybody around me it’s based upon the work of Jesus Christ and the difference that he has made in each one of our lives we are a community together I loved last week because it was

just great to see those folks that were up on the panel being interviewed by alex talking about the different ministries that they were reaching out and and you could hear in their voices there was a love and a compassion for the people that they were ministering to um hannah and neal working with refugees and just the yeah the concern that they had um the folks in the food bank cara and aaron and and you know just the words that they said I’m working on presently on an outreach team here for local outreach um and you know I’d love to take credit for this but I can’t it’s the people who are on that team who are sitting there and and every week they’re saying we want to make sure that we’re doing this right we don’t want to enable people we want to empower people we want to love them the way that God loves them and I I love

being part of that team that’s happening right here at south you know I would encourage you I’d encourage you to pray for south that that does not stop but that continues on and on and be grateful for what we have that we’ve we’ve got nuggets of that all over and I know that panel was just a small sampling of what God does in the hearts of many of you people and I love it keep doing it and let’s be grateful and thankful as we approach that but paul doesn’t just give thanks and then stop he also has some requests that he throws out there and and these requests it’s kind of a long passage but it deals with I want to say two types of knowing two types of knowing let me read this for you I pray for you constantly asking God the glorious father our lord Jesus Christ to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in

your knowledge of God I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him now if I were to ask you okay where are the two different types of knowing there I wonder what you’d say um I’ll highlight them for you so you can see them you know might grow in your knowledge of God so that you can understand the confident hope and and also so you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power those two understanding that’s the same greek word that knowledge that’s the same greek word let me kind of go to another translation which kind of gives us some of the kind of dilemma that we

sometimes face this is the translation I’m going to go to is called the new international version I don’t know if you were listening last week to alex he mentioned oh I’m going to I’m going to give you some quotes from the translation that dan uses uh that’s the new living translation which we’ve been looking at now I’m going to go to the translation that alex uses the new international version just so you can see what we sometimes face I keep asking that the God of our lord Jesus Christ the glorious father may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know him better I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he’s called you and when you read that you kind of say oh so I’m supposed to know both yeah but there’s a slight difference and I’m going to get a little

greeky geeky here so let me kind of throw up what the two words are the two words are epignosis and I deny now I don’t even know how to pronounce that second one I I think that’s how you pronounce it I deny but epignosis um is a word that means to know but it means you know there’s full discernment there’s first hand experiential knowing in other words for ebignosis that’s that’s the kind of knowing that happens within a relationship um the intimacy intimacy is part of this epignosis that comes out it’s a deep knowing I deny or adenae is uh you you kind of reflect upon you you you remember you you review so that you can understand you can understand it fully and therefore begin to appreciate so there’s this aspect of appreciation that comes out so let me go with this epignosis which is the first request I keep asking that the

God of our lord Jesus Christ the glorious father may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know him better so that you may know him better I I like that it’s worded that way you know he adds a little bit so that you may know him better I think in the new living that I was using so that your knowledge will grow so he’s recognizing right off the bat they have an element of this yes but he wants it to go deeper and you know what I believe very much each one of you here each one of you here who has a faith in Jesus Christ has a part of this knowledge of this I’ll say intimacy with God but God wants us to go deeper with him um there was a fellow I was reading who kind of took this whole relational aspect of epignosis and said you know in our culture we have two types of relationships basically we have a relationship

that’s a transactional relationship and we have a relationship that is a personal relationship um so let me just illustrate like this if I go into mcdonald’s um and I go up to the counter and the nice little gal says how can I help you and I say to her well this has been a pretty rough day it started bad in the morning and you know um do you have time to listen I I could really use some help processing what’s been happening and she’d look at me and say uh you want a cheeseburger um you know it’s a transactional relationship she’s expecting I’m going to come in there with an order and hand her some money and she’s going to be able to meet that need and we we face that every day but let me tell you what’s sad I think on many churches across our country church is a transactional relationship and we enter this thing we call religion and

we think if I just do this right God’s gonna like me more if I just give a little bit more of my time uh maybe I’ll get some of that peace Jesus talks about our relationship with God is not a transaction and that’s what paul is calling us to he’s calling us to a personal relationship with the God of the universe and frankly that blows me away now if I were to carry this into the the personal relationship level and um and and I take in like if I if I go to carry my wife and I come home from work one day and kerry says boy dan you look pretty tired and I would say here I am and it seems like man right from the very get-go it just started wrong I need to really process would you mind listening here’s ten dollars she would be so offended and you know folks I think God feels the same way I think God feels the same way when when we cheapen the

relationship with him that he wants us to have and we think we can buy our way into his love those songs we sang he loves us he loves us as much as he’s ever going to love us and it’s more love than we know what to do with and regardless of what we do it’s not going to be less um you know one thing I would just share as I’m talking about this because it reminds me of something um and and that is our our church has chosen to go in a direction we’ve been talking about something called spiritual formation and we’ve decided to go into that to try to figure out what forms us more and more spiritually here in the church and pastor yvonne’s been doing a great job trying to take us more and more into that direction of spiritual formation and I know that there are some of us who have had past experience which may have been not the greatest

with that it might have even bordered in an organization that it might have seemed legalistic you know when we got into that if you do this and this and this and if you do this practice you’re going to get these results and I know that we have some people who have been in past denominations where they may have bordered on that and I want you to hear me again I will say that word there’s nothing you can do that will make God love you more and there’s nothing you can do that will make him love you you less when we talk about spiritual formation practices we’re not talking about anything that will change God’s heart toward you but let me tell you I am talking about something that will change my heart toward him and the more time that I can spend in his word it helps me get a little bit more insight into him the more time I can

go out for a walk in nature and just say wow God open my eyes that’s just that’s a practice that opens me to him the more I can fast you know we can go through all kinds of spiritual practices the goal is just what paul is praying I pray that you would have this spirit of wisdom so that so that you can know personally the God of the universe I think of adam and God walking in the garden wow can you imagine that walking with God and talking with him we can do it his spirit’s with us it’s a little bit tougher because we don’t see him but we can do it and that’s what paul’s prayer is and that’s what my prayer would be for us a south fellowship that each and every one of us would take seriously this personal intimate relationship that we’re to have with God almighty we didn’t just pray that he also has another prayer and he says I pray that the eyes of

your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you the riches of his glorious inheritance and his holy people and his incomparably great power for us who believe and when I looked at that the eyes of your heart you know I’m kind of thinking okay the eyes of my heart my heart’s kind of that’s the seat of my emotions so I bet you this knowing has something to do with the emotions coming in there um and when I went and kind of looked in there I realized oops I’m wrong you know today we look at the heart as kind of the the seed of our emotions we have valentine’s day and what do we have red hearts in the ancient greek and hebrew days they didn’t see that the seed of emotions was your stomach you know maybe it had to do what they ate the night before I’m not sure but it was it was their

stomach was the seed of their emotions splunk the heart was the seed of wisdom the heart was the seed of wisdom and here’s a great verse in proverbs proverbs chapter four guard your heart it’s the wellspring of life the wellspring of life the heart was the wellspring of life the heart was basically the place where they believed your perspective on life on living came and and what paul is praying here is I pray that your perspective on life would be enlightened and you could gain some insight into and I’m going to say three things um you know he wants us to know to understand and appreciate so that we can gain some insight into the hope the inheritance and the power that is there so let’s look at those three things in light of this thing how we can get to know it better be you know reflect upon it so that we can appreciate it more so it will

encourage us to move and the first one is that you may know the hope to which he has called you the hope to which he’s called you now this passage in the second part of ephesians chapter one is preceded by the first part of ephesians chapter one which has some tremendous insights into who you and I are into who we are in Jesus Christ our our identity um it’s a it’s a familiar passage but sometimes we don’t take the time to reflect on this like like paul is praying that we would so I want to go through some of these characteristics and I’ll tell you a story that why this is so meaningful to carrie and carrie and me carrie is my wife and carries had two bouts of cancer and the second bout uh wasn’t as severe as the first but the second bout she had to have both chemo and radiation and that radiation was 30 days in a row and we would drive

down to the hospital and and it became carrie’s pattern when she would go in there it was intimidating it was frightening to see this machine and to realize there was a beam that was going right through and burning and so she it didn’t last long it was it was somewhat quick but she kind of made a point to say okay I’m going to reflect on these points every time that beam comes on and I’m going to review them and here’s this list let me just read this passage before while you look at this this list of these things that we are in Christ all praise to God the father of our lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ I don’t even know how to get my arms around that one every spiritual blessing is ours wow even before he made the world God loved

us and chose us in Christ to be holy without fault in his eyes you were loved you were loved long before you ever were you were chosen long before you ever walked this earth you were loved and chosen and and God doesn’t see a fault in you isn’t that wild to think wow God decided in advance number three to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ this is what he did and it gave him great pleasure he welcomed us into a family we are not alone we’re in a family so we praise God for the glorious grace he’s poured out on us who belonged to his dear son he is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his son that’s that word he redeemed us he purchased us he purchased our freedom we are no longer enslaved to what we were enslaved to before but

now we are free and it’s all because of Jesus Christ um and then going on in that verse and he forgave our sins he forgave our sins he wiped clean the whole slate everything that we could not get rid of he got rid of he has showered his kindness on us along with all wisdom and understanding his grace is just all over us this is who we are in Christ because of the work of Jesus on the cross because of the conquering of death and the grave we can now submit our lives into his hands and these things are true of us I skipped down to verse verse 13 now um he’s talking about the the plan of God’s purpose and and how the the jews would be the first to trust in Christ and then the gentiles uh and he says this and you gentiles have heard the truth the good news that God saves you and when you believed in Christ he identified you as his own

by giving you the holy spirit who we promised long ago we’re saved and the holy spirit anchors us in that and the spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised wow now I share that with you so that you go home and read it over and over and over and reflect on it just like paul is praying that we would reflect on it and the reason we reflect on this so that we’d come to a point of really appreciate it and be encouraged and who we are in Jesus and I look at a room full of you who are these characteristics that’s something to thank God for and to walk with him um let’s just kind of take a little bit of a break and I want you to listen to this so okay now that took place a few years ago and granted it’s kind of a little grainy film because there was a hidden camera to catch all this um the interesting thing the interesting thing was

this is a concert violinist this isn’t just your typical busker this guy donned a baseball cap he put on an old sweatshirt and he went down to the train station in washington dc and he put on a concert for 45 minutes and during that time 45 minutes hundreds of people walked by him heads down uh some people listened a little bit stopped through a few coins in his violin case um you see this person this woman who’s just kind of watching him she was the only one who stopped and stood there kind of transfixed and when he was all done 45 minutes she went up to him and you could hear it on the tape she said you know you’re joshua bell aren’t you I heard you a couple months ago when you put on your concert at the library of congress with the washington symphony and I want you to know I paid over 200 bucks for that ticket and here

were hundreds of people walking by who hardly took notice he got 37 and 10 cents in his violin case that day 20 bucks came from her um but I think so often it’s just like the church God is weaving on an amazing symphony an amazing masterpiece in us in his people and sometimes we walk with our heads down because we’re so busy because we’re so concerned about our lives that we fail to look around and see what God is doing in us and through us and who he has made us and he wants us to take notice that’s paul’s prayer stop walking so hurriedly stop and focus and think about these things let me just go through again every spiritual blessing I’m not sure what all that is but you know what that’s where I kind of rest on paul’s prayer I pray for enlightenment and I I think it’s great to meditate on these things to pray for the enlightenment

that God would let you know who you are in Christ um yeah we’re loved and chosen to be holy and guess what realizing that God’s love will never change being holy is not an obligation it’s an opportunity to respond to the love of God and realize if he really loves me then his call of purity on my life is the best thing for me he’s made me for purity it’s not going to be hard I’m adopted into God’s family and many times we might feel lonely in our walk with the lord you are not alone look around you but don’t just look around you look around the world you know we’re hearing all kinds of stories from afghanistan I was amazed to hear and I haven’t really checked this out but I heard that the church in afghanistan is the second rapidly growing church I don’t mean the second largest but the second rapidly growing church in the world isn’t that

something we’re not alone we’re part of his forever family we’re redeemed and forgiven we’re redeemed and forgiven it’s wiped clean it’s time to give up the shame the enemy keeps reminding us of the mistakes of the past the enemy keeps reminding us that there’s obstacles between you and God and guess what there aren’t and it’s time we let those go and come into that walk with Jesus that he made everything possible uh his grace is poured out on us you know yeah when I when I read that I need to take some time to stop and look for it because sometimes I get so preoccupied with what I think is right that I failed to realize the grace that God is pouring out all over and getting his perspective um and we can go on just the fact that his holy spirit is with us uh we have someone to walk with someone to talk with someone who

can counsel us yeah we could go on and I would just encourage you reflect on these things reflect on them so that you can appreciate them stronger and stronger of who you are in Christ and why do I say that well let’s look at the next prayer request that paul has he says that you may know the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people now I’ve read that one kind of fast in the past and remember the one of the last things we had down where is is our inheritance that we have in God this is a little different this is saying the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people wow there’s something amazingly wonderful that God sees in us I don’t know what it is and to tell you the truth I’m not sure he’s getting a great deal but he thinks so maybe just a little bit of background and I’ll just share these verses quick

deuteronomy chapter 4 in deuteronomy chapter 4 you have moses who the the people of israel have just wandered for 40 years they’re at the at the gateway to the promised land and moses is reminding them of all they’ve gone through and he says this to them remember the lord rescue you from the iron smelting furnace of egypt in order to make you his very own people and his special possession which is what you are today and many translations will say instead of a special possession they’ll say his his generous inheritance the people of israel were his inheritance and and you wonder what does that mean what can they give to him well let’s go to the new testament now and let’s go to a letter that peter wrote and let’s read some similar language but it’s written to the church it’s written to us on this side of the cross and he says for

you are a chosen people you are a royal priest you are a holy nation you are God’s very own possession and that’s that word God’s very own inheritance and what does God get from us as a result you can show others the goodness of God for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light each and every one of us when we go through those amazing characteristics of who we are in Christ we get to tell other people about the goodness of God we get to be able to go and I guess another way of putting it is to be his hands and feet in this world people see us do they see the goodness of God in us because that’s what paul is praying that we would begin to appreciate the fact that we are his inheritance to be able to take his goodness to the world and sometimes we do that in words trying to explain things I would think that most of the time

we do that in deeds in goodness in love trying to be the example of Jesus Christ with skin on and that’s what paul is praying here there’s a third prayer request that that paul puts out and uh it’s an it’s an interesting one and I’ll just add it that you may know his incomparably great power for us who believe and I believe the reason paul puts that in there is because when we realize that Jesus wants us to be his hands and feet in this world we can oftentimes get cold hands and feet and we can oftentimes feel inadequate to do the job that God is calling us to do and paul is saying I don’t want you to forget there is an incomparably great power that is enabling you to go out and be my ministers and he goes on to say this power is found in Jesus Christ when Jesus Christ was raised from the dead and this power was found with Jesus Christ was raised up into

the heavens and seated at the right hand of God and this power is found when Jesus Christ was given authority over everything everything and this power is fine when found when Jesus Christ is called to be the head of the church that’s us south fellowship Christ is the head it’s a great prayer request a great prayer that paul gives for the church of Jesus Christ and I would ask each and every one of you to pray this I I think back 130 years ago to george eddie getting on that train in boston and I wonder what he felt like I wonder what he felt like four weeks later when he had 40 or 50 rambunctious kids and probably started thinking is this the right thing you were telling me to do I would love to know the names of some of those kids because I’d love to trace their lives but we don’t have any of that but you know what we do have we have us we’re here

and we’re a result of his obedience leaving boston to go out there I wonder what will come from our obedience I wonder what will come from the answers to prayer when we start having prayers like this I wonder what yeah I can just see the day when we’ve got so many volunteers at the food bank the people that run it don’t know what to do you know I don’t know how many of you saw the video from hannah levers that came out this week in which she’s just honestly saying you know guys I don’t know what the future’s going to be but denver is among four destination cities for afghan refugees and we’re going to start having afghan families coming who don’t begin to understand our culture and are going through such trauma of being uprooted I wonder if God would use us some way to minister to families like that I don’t know I

just throw that outbut one of the things I want to encourage is each to believe and to realize what happens here in the church is not incidental it’s not something that’s just happening on a sunday I believe it’s something that’s so crucial to our society and God has planted us here for a purpose I want to just close with a paraphrase and a paraphrase is just another kind of translation except with a lot of interpretation thrown in but this is from eugene peterson he writes all this energy issues from Christ God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven in charge of running the universe everything from galaxies to governments no name no power exempt from his rule and not just for the time being but forever he’s in charge of it all he has the final word on everything listen to this at the center of all this Christ rules the

church the church you see is not peripheral to the world the world is peripheral to the church the church is Christ’s body in which he speaks and acts by which he fills everything with his presence

A Prayer for the Church | Labor Day Weekend2022-01-26T15:46:23-07:00

Easter Sunday 2021

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TRANSCRIPT

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You wake up one morning and you take your customer stroll down a Jerusalem high stream, as you wander down the street, you pick up through your charter market traders and you think how peaceful life has been for the last few weeks. It’s been five weeks since Jesus has been arrested and crucified, and why you’re not sure that you agreed with the decision, a piece for life is pretty good, and you know about all things the Romans were not to be messed with.

As you wander down the street, you look further down and see a crowd is gathered, and your interest is around, you begin to walk closer, and you hear languages from all over the place. Now, Jerusalem’s a cosmopolitan city, so that’s not unusual in itself, but a crowd like this… Well, that is unusual. As you get closer, you start to recognize some faces, some of the men that have been conspicuous by that absence the last few weeks, some of the earliest followers of Jesus, they’re there in the center of the crowd and they’re the ones that are shouting excitedly and as you get close enough, one of them comes up to you, someone that you know well, and He begins to tell you over and over again, he’s not dead, he is risen, He is alive, and something your heart leaps and catches in your fruit because you begin to ask this question, what does that mean? You know for certain that Jesus died, the Romans, These invaders, they made mistakes of just as sure if a few innocent people have to dive for peace, they didn’t mind, but mistakes of execution. Never. No, Jesus was definitely dead.

But how do you explain these people, you know, resurrection doesn’t happen, and yet these people should be running, go hiding, but here they are in the street recruiting, shouting over and over again. Jesus is alive, He is not dead, he’s risen. And you’re left with this question, what does that mean? Does that mean that the story is true, and if the story is true, but then what would that mean? Is Jesus really alive? You can sit down… Thanks for standing with me all that time. Welcome friends. It’s great to have you here on Easter Sunday. If you are in church for the first time in a year, then that’s a wonderful thing, if you have tears coming to your eyes because you’re back in community, then there’s nothing wrong with that. This is our third service of the morning, the first one involved is all getting up at like 5, 45 or something like that, but I can say without, now that you guys are my favorite service, and I’ve said that on camera to the people at home as well, you guys are my favorite service, and if we’ve not worked out any deletions by now, we should have had a chart, it’s simply incompetence that is causing glitches at this point.

What does this mean? We’re starting in an unusual place, we’re starting five weeks after Jesus, death and resurrection was starting in this book called Acts, it’s… For those of you that are not from a church background, it’s one of the early texts, it’s how the church figured out how they were a church, as this crowd gallows and begins to yell that Jesus is alive and people start to question it. We told This, amazed and perplexed. They ask one another, what does this amazed and perplexed in a morning, like East to Sunday, I’d suggest there’s probably people from all… In all sorts of places, some of you would say you’re not following Jesus on a journey, we have a vision that says We wanna live in the way of Jesus with the heart of Jesus, and if your honest, you’d say, that’s not me, and that’s fine. Maybe you came because someone asked you to come all the way through to people who have been following Jesus for 60, 70, 80 years, and amongst us, there’s probably people in all sorts of different places, maybe you would describe yourself as actively agnostic. Yeah, you’re here because someone asked you, but you’re trying to maybe figure it out a little bit, but you’re just not sure about whether Jesus is who He said He is about faith in general.

Maybe there is another group of us that would describe ourselves as a seasonally spiritual, we get into this thing at outer, we have these rhythms that we pick it up or through every now and again, but it’s not consistent, and again, no judgement. That’s fine. Life is busy, and then there’s a group of you that might say We, I’m continually committed, I’m always around, and this is just a place that I call up across that spectrum. These two words maybe impact us differently, maybe some of us think about resurrection and we would say, I’m amazed, I believe this thing happened and it’s captivating, maybe others of us would say… I’m a little perplexed. I’m not sure, I’m trying to figure it out. But regardless, that question, What does this mean? Probably impacts all of us, maybe in different ways, but it’s probably relevant to all of us, resurrection is this huge idea, if it’s real, it changes everything. A few years ago, I had a friend who called me accidentally, I got one of classic but dials, and because my name begins with a… Get these fairly frequently. If you don’t know an Adam or an AR, and then it’s probably gonna come through to Alex, and so I got this core and it happens, I usually, I listen in to make sure they’re not talking about me.

I’m very narcissistic, I grant you, and then I listen in to make sure that if I can catch any news that’s available, and I know I’m tapping into some of your deep fears, because every single one of you has had moments in life where you looked at your phone, I said, please say I didn’t cause someone in this embarrassing moment, but this… What was different in that moment? It was a co-worker that called me and I picked up the phone… All I got her on the phone was, no, please, no. No, no, please know. You know, when my adrenaline shut up, I thought, Is she in trouble? Does she need help? Am I supposed to do something? And yet I knew the person that she was with and they’ve just been with me, and then I thought, well, they’re both co-workers, they now work for me, maybe it’s a prank, maybe they’re just trying to wind me up, and then when she called me back later when I found out was that I had actually had it right after receiving a call that her dad had passed away, it was the heartbreak in the anguish, so many of you have been through maybe this year, maybe during covid, maybe in the past, or you certainly will in the future, what I heard was have begging in this instance, in this particular case, could death please work backwards? Could it reverse itself? And could not be true.

And if you’ve been there, man, my heart aches for you. But every single one of us would deal with that at some point, that’s why resurrection is such vital subject, and when these earliest followers of Jesus began to grab hold of the significance of his resurrection, they started to sketch out for the next few years, well, what does it mean then what… How broad is in What are metaphors that we can use to explain it, so what I’d love us to do for our time together, and the creative team said to me… You have 25 minutes and I usually get 40, so it’s gonna take some work and I’m gonna talk fast. And we’ll get through this together. But when I sketch some images of the beauty and the joy of resurrection and what it meant, and to do that, I’m gonna rely mainly on stories and images in the hopes that when you take them away, those are the things that stick. So we started in Pentagonal five weeks from… They were gonna back track to start with, we’re gonna ask ourselves about Good Friday, this day that we’re just celebrated. And I want you to use your imagination.

Again, you’re one of Jesus earliest followers. You’ve been with him on Thursday when he’s been arrested, you spent the night pretty sleepless, and the next morning, Friday, you hear this going to be an execution, you grab a sword and hide it under your cloak, but really, what are you gonna do? You versus a whole bunch of Romans in the crowd that seems so in favor of Jesus last week is now firmly against him. You don’t wanna get too close to the front because you might recognize, but you don’t wanna be too far away because you love Jesus, you’ve spent three years with him and is important to you, and as you stand there, you think about the celebration you’ve just had that week, it’s been this festival called Passover, where you remembered how there was this time, your ancestors desperately needed God to do something and he did. Death literally passed over those thousand years ago, and you begin to ask, Could this happen for Jesus, because Jesus is good in a way that you’ve never met before. Could death pass over for him, and then you watch as his breathing becomes slower and more labored, and then you listen as with his final breathe, Cristi one word to tell a Ty.

What does it mean? Finished. Does he mean he is finished? Does he mean death is coming? Does he mean the plan that the idea is finished, does you mean that the hope that you have the dreams, that you sort of dream together, the idea that the world could be a better place, you didn’t understand him always, granted, but it always was so compelling. Does it mean that that is over and… And yeah, that seems true without Jesus, it is over, there is no hope, but then you think about the tone of his voice, he doesn’t seem defeated, he seems like… I think he thinks he accomplished something. He start to think about the word finished complete. One of the early metaphors that the church used to talk about death and resurrection was this idea of finished… This is John, one of Jesus biographers, one of his earliest followers, if you’re unfamiliar with the Bible, when he had received the drink, Jesus said, It is finished, and with that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. For the earliest followers of Jesus, His death and resurrection meant freedom from past guilt, from the weight of their own history that they carried all the time, the sense that every single one of us has this thing…

This inner voice that says, I’m not okay. I feel like I might not make it. If I had to wear good and bad in the scales, maybe I could throw some good in there, but they’d also be some bad and… And does that even matter if God is completely good, how do I stack up to this completely good God, they tapped into this sense of guilt that was already present in the people that they were talking to, and they said, Jesus death and his resurrection… This is the answer to that. He came, that that debt might be paid, and again, I’ll ask you to use your imagination, imagine you’re a man or a woman with a business dream, your dream is to send people into space to have them stay on a hotel where they can see the ice caps and the deers at the same time, and that would seem ridiculous 20 years ago, but now we’re like, We could… Seriously, if you’re talking about this soon, and so you happen to know the right combination of people with money and people with a science background, and you work together and the dream looks, it’s about to come true, the rich and famous line up to jump in on your project, they wanna go and experience what you’re offering, and then right before the end, disaster strikes, one of your final unmanned flights explodes, one of your scientists that did some of the key research confesses he, he actually can’t do what he said he was going to do.

You find out that has many financial people are betting against you as betting a for you, or betting for you, and then you find out that the government is investigating your work, and even worse, they’d like to help with a project at Tel government choke for you. There, from the least political fastening the room. In that moment, you say, What do I do about this situation? Your mortgage, your house, and because the Denver real estate market is crazy, you get 500000 to be able to begin to pay back a loan, and you come up with this plan that you work for the next 40 years and you’ll pay back a quarter of a million dollars a year, but you know, the plan is ridiculous. You could work for 40, 50, 20 lifetimes. And you wouldn’t be able to pay back this money. As you stand in the elevator, going up to see one of your main financial backers, you practice over and again this speech, trying to explain to them what you’re going to do, and as you walk into the office, you surprised that she’s smiling. And as you begin to outline your plan, she says, What do you mean? Repay the money.

I’m a venture capitalist, I take risk. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t do. There’s no debt to repay, and as you begin to offer the check from the house, say, or she says, Oh no, I bought the loan from the bank this morning, here’s the note, and she tears it up and she hands it to you, she asks how you’ve lived for the last few weeks, how you’ve survived with no money, and you tell her about the kids school payments that you’ve put on credit cards and how you build up more and more of that, and she says, How much does it cost? And she pulls out a check book and says, I’m gonna write a number on here, tell me how much it really costs, and then she says, Well, I’m gonna add a little more on the end just to make sure I cover it. And then as you begin to walk out unable to believe how your life has changed in the last few minutes, this… Oh, by the way, when you’re ready to make the project work, make sure you come back to us for the money, we still believe in you and what you’re doing now, of course, the story isn’t reality because that’s not how finance works, and it’s not even real allegory it doesn’t picture directly what Jesus did, it’s a story that’s meant to tap into the extraordinary ness of forgiveness for…

For the earliest followers of Jesus, when they thought about what deaf and resurrection meant, they said it was freedom from the debts of the past, you are free from everything that you would hold against yourself… This is this right, or pool, one of Jesus early followers right into a church and a town called Coles, when he was stuck in your old sin dead life, you’re incapable of responding to God, God brought you a life right along with Christ. Think of it, all sins forgiven, the sleep, Wipe clean, the old arrest were an canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross, they thought about freedom from the burdens of guilt, the week, all carry those things that you know… Look somewhere in your heart. But something more, when they talked about what Jesus death and resurrection meant, they talked about the idea of the possibility of transformation in the present. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The oldest pastor away, Behold, the new has come as they look for a word that would help them capture everything Jesus had done, the word they landed on was metamorphosis, the same word that we use to describe this process.

Now, this is usually where some really smart person comes up to me after the service, or drop me an email and says, Well, that type of Caterpillar wouldn’t turn into that type of butterfly, and you may be technically right, I don’t know. But you are missing the point. Perhaps there is this process that happens here where a caterpillar wraps itself in a cocoon and its body literally disintegrate, I always thought I just sprouted wings or something like that, but… No, no, no, it breaks down and it reforms as something else, when early followers of Jesus tried to sketch out what does death and resurrection, man, they said it means that you can be transformed into a different person because of that process, and if you’re a kid here in the room, we would love to give you a caterpillar when you leave, in the hope that it will turn into a butterfly, and I say hope because we do not guarantee this, and if any of you kids try and come and ask me for your money back where you didn’t pay anything. So you’re not getting any money out of me, but hopefully it does become a butterfly, hopefully it does do this transformation thing, If you ten for it and care for it, well, I’m gonna put the responsibility on you, and if it doesn’t work, it’s because you did it wrong, but the thing that Jesus offers that is guaranteed, that is something, he says No, this will happen the moment you decide to walk into life with Jesus, the moment you take what He did, that death and resurrection, say, God, would you…

Let that apply to me. He offers new life, this instant instant wants and for all transformation, it was new freedom from the past debts that you carried, but it was also a new life in the present, but not just as a one of thing… One of the things the earliest followers of Jesus sketched out was that this was a continual present and a continual transformation. This is the same guy, Paul, in a letter to a church in Rome. So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you, take you every day or an relive your sleeping eating, going to work and walking around life, and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does to you is the best thing you can do for him, don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking, instead fix your attention on God, you’ll be changed from the inside out. Is that continue or present changing thing, and we wanted to tap into this idea through story, and so we thought, Who better to pick… For those of you that know South well, then, a good friend, Carolyn Schmidt, who couldn’t be here today, but he’s here in presence on video and in spirit, and all those different things.

I didn’t just pick it ’cause she’s old than I am, but I picked it because a story has this beautiful poignancy and there’s a full 30 minutes video online, you can watch it if you like to. Aaron, with his magical skills, managed to cut it down to five. So here we go, homecare, thank you for sitting down and talking to us. And for those of you that don’t know, Carolyn is just a long time there, right up on it, letter and how long… You can tell everyone how about

67 years with 7 years member of South and went through covid and was in hospital. And we have one, I had moments where I was like, Wow, I’m not sure whether I get to see you walk in the building again, and to see you walk in my office today, it’s just such a joy and relief, and whether it being Easter, we wanted to talk about this idea of renewal

Of how God incredibly brings life out of death, as we’re talking about this, he creates gardens out of graves. We would start with just some history, like the beginning… In about middle history.

What did the beginning looked like a family life for me was… By the time I was 12 years old, both my parents were dead and both of my paternal grandparents were… Did at one time or another, I have lived in at least 15 different places with sometimes changes to Complete family, all within the blood relatives, but for what… A variety of reasons, and finally was split up from my sister when I was 10 years old, six months before my mom died in New Mexico, and I moved back to Denver to live with the… At an uncle there, and neighbors of ours introduced me to South Presbyterian Church at 1700 South Grand, and then as I got older, I went by myself, and my daughter one time said she never realized what it must have been like to go to a church by yourself as a kid, come home by yourself to abuse from the AD who hated anything to do with church.

Sometimes we think that the Jesus story and he’s working is this one-off event, it’s just a… No, and it seems like you’ve seen this pattern in your life is this

Is honoring ingall, it’s like this crack quilt, and it’s not that each crab has a history, but there’s dark and there’s lights in it, if you can see it. And I put it together because I thought on my mind operates like that… No, my whole life has been like that. On April 2nd, 2008, my husband died of pneumonia that went in to septicemia, we had no warning. No, nothing. He got sick on April 1st, wound up in the hospital, he was gone the next morning, 24 hours. Well, I have been an orphan and now a widow and a not so Dolan and utterly dependent on my Lord. That’s what this was utterly dependent in the hospital, and so then the staff started calling it miracle… Miracle, miracle. And so here I am just thinking, What do I… What now, that’s an increase… That it happens as a result of a miracle. I was talking to one of the nurses, I said, Anna, what do I do now? And she says, You go on, do it. Exact with what you’re doing now at it with loving people.

So what I was sitting here in spirit on resurrection Sunday. Yes, it is the highest day of the year, it’s this wonderful moment of joy, and so just for a second, just share with us as a community, what do the word Resurrection Sunday and what does the day mean

For us? It’s a resurrection, a renewal of delighting ourselves in the Lord and recognizing it’s not that he’s giving us the desires of our heart, He is the desire of our heart, I love taking the light and being… Any morning, every morning I wake up is potentially a resurrection, and at this point for me right now, I am going back and seeing it all, and I mean all the hard stuff, the loss… Everything as pure gift. And the fact is, the resurrection would not have been possible, except for the ugliness of what Jesus went through for us, resurrection only happens reserves death, we’re talking about Graves into guns rights, the seed that’s planted, it has to go in and has to die, and it springs out in your life, that what I leave behind. For everybody I know is somebody who like the Lord, not seems like a good, good way shoreline to cheats a resurrection on, come right down to it for every morning to be praying that.

Thanks so much, Carolyn. So good. Did you hear some of the language there, every day has the possibility of resurrection, you talked about the good, the bad, how God was leaving this tapestry, that’s what it looks like for life, not to just be about transformation once… Forever, the transformation to be continue this partnership that’s got… Goes on, and it’s almost like God in His love for us, said, Transformation is fun. Why don’t you and I do that in your life together for a long time, this is the process that you are invited into in death and resurrection, but not just individual, ever for this whole world, this is this continual process that seems to go on and on and on my wife has this best friend that she’s never… Ever met. She loves Joanna Gaines from fixer, because I’m annoying. I regularly make out like, I don’t like them a tour, when in actual fact, I think they’re great. And she just rolls her eyes, which is normal, right? Every half-decent guy has a great woman behind him, rolling his eyes, and so she will talk about just the wonders that you see it, and I just think what they do is amazing.

You see old, and then you see what is possible, and the new friend, a Reese’s a part of our community, he sent me a couple of pictures of a kitchen he was working on this last couple of weeks, you see old, and then you see new and you talk about a life coming out of all things into new things, it’s like God in His love rested, I long to see transformation in you… Yes, once and forever like a butter, a cater, Philip becoming a butterfly, but also continue. When the first followers of Jesus talked about resurrection, they talked about, yes, freedom from the guilt of the past and transformation in this continual presence that you are invited into, but for the first thousand years, one of the predominant metaphors that often gets forgot or forgotten today is the idea that Jesus was victor over death, that Jesus death was a victory that every single one of us needed because deep in our own hearts, there is this fear of this ultimate reality that we all at some point must face. I remember as a child getting on a bus every day and go to school on the school bus, drove pastor graveyard, and for some reason, instinctively as a young child, what I would do was I would get the point where the grave it started and he would hold my breath, that was terrible on the days with the traffic backed up two and a half Hadiths, bus really needs to move, but there was something instinctual and me that said, I don’t like this thing, it was my own childish equivalent of whistling past the gravida the earliest follows of Jesus sketched out what this meant, they said they tapped into this problem I had death and the grave, and never satisfied.

It affects every single one of us. That’s why resurrection is such a big subject because it affects us all and it taps into our ancient story. For those of you unfamiliar with the Bible, the first story in the Bible is about a man and a woman and the garden. It’s about relationship with God. We don’t have time to go into the whole thing. But it’s there and it’s part of our history. This first man through his own broken us, through his own failure, broke that relationship and changed his own life ever and doing so changed as to… When you look back into this book Genesis, which means beginnings, we see, Adam took a guard and then I was gonna pick an English God, but it is Masters week coming up, so I picked the wonderful Augustana tonal golf course, and some of you could… People that love golf can just picture yourself there and know that you’ll never get there, but… We all have to suffer. Adam takes a garden and he turns it into a grave, he takes a Gada, and he turns it into a grief, and that affects every single one of us for all time.

And as these early followers of Jesus started to realize the magnitude of what Jesus had done and what resurrection meant… This all connects together. This is one of the resurrection appearances of Jesus in this book. John, Now, Mary stood outside the tomb crying, notice that it’s the women that get there first, the men were still Sunoco, and we’re trying to figure what to do next. As she wore, she’d been over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white seated where Jesus body had been, one of the head and the other at the foot, the as a woman where you crying. They have taken my Lord away, she said, and I don’t know where they have put him. At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He has a woman where you cram… Who is it? You are looking for… Thinking he was the gardener. She said, So if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him in, I will get him. Jesus said to a marry, she turned towards him and cried in our make for Boni, which means teacher, Jesus said, Do not hold on to me for I have not yet send it to the Father.

Go instead to my brothers and tell them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father to my God and to your God. Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news, I have seen the Lord, and she told them that he had said these things to her. This first start on this man back in Genesis takes a garden and he turns it into a grave in this wonderful symmetry. The reverse happens here. She thought he was the gardener. And maybe in some weird way. She isn’t wrong about that. In the same way, Adam takes a garden and turns into a grave, Jesus takes a grieve and he turns it into a garden, this place that is this about death becomes this place that is about life, Jesus took a grave and turned it into a guard and for the first hundreds of years of church life, one of the central ideas and metaphors was about the fact that Jesus had been victorious over death, it’s why I love the fact that different churches around the world, specifically Greek or other Dux churches, will say over and over again, on Easter or pass, Christ is risen from the dead.

Trample over death. By death. On those in the tombs bestowing life. This early metaphor was the idea that Jesus, when He looked defeated, only looked defeated, it only seemed that way, but what we were waiting for was the ultimate comeback story, it was like Muhammad Ali sat on the ropes for eight rounds against you free Fraser and then there’s that moment where he says Is that all you’ve got any starts punching back, it’s like my beloved Detroit Red Wings losing in 1996, then coming back and literally wiping the floor with the Colorado have large in 1997. It’s this idea that you haven’t seen this coming, the thing that looked like the end was not the end of the thing that looked like death was not death, the thing that looked like a grape was not a grave, it just simply… It just simply seemed that way, and for hundreds of years, this idea of Jesus as the victor of death was the thing that remains Central. This is a picture of Jesus standing on the gates of hell in His resurrection, in one hand holds a U. In the other hand, he holds e symbol symbolically, every single one of us and says, death does not affect you in the same weight anymore, that is the stark claim of resurrection, there is new life offered.

This is an unknown writer to a group called the Hebrews, Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by their death, by His death, He might break the power of him holds the power of death, that is the devil And free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. This is Paul again to the same church and… Wrong, but the gift is not like the trespass, for if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to many. If you’re a child and you’ve never ready, get your parents to read The Chronicles of Narnia with you, this is the lion Aslan you can watch the movie if you want, it’s not as good, but… The book is the key. This is a abelian who represents Jesus in this allegory, the which would have known that when a willing victim had committed no, rectory was killed in a trade set, the table would crack and death itself would start working backwards. Think about my friend, think about your own hearts and think about that cripples know, please know.

Could death please work backwards, the resurrection is the promise that one day death will indeed work backwards for hundreds and thousands of years, that was the central metaphor of the Church, Christ is victorious of the over-death and when you in your grief and Ian, a grief place flowers on a tomb and watch them. Well, we’re speaking to the idea that one day those flowers might take root in the ground, that a garden may shoot up from a grave, that new life will be possible in the face of that, that’s the ridiculous audacious claim of the Christian church for hundreds of years. Resurrection says that The worst thing isn’t the last thing about the world, it’s the next to the last thing. The last thing is the best thing, it’s the power from on high that comes down into the world, that wells up from the rock bottom west of the world like a hidden spring. Can you believe it? The last best thing is the laughing deep in the heart of the saints, sometimes our hearts even yes, you are terribly loved and forgiven. Yes, you are healed. All is well, the story of resurrection is the one day that in the midst of this brokenness in the world, one day will gather together in resurrection and we will live about it together.

The idea of the early church writers was not that Jesus had given us new freedom from past gets, not that he had just given us new life in this continual present, but there was this hope in the future that was transformative, it was centered around all together the idea that God is alive and He is loose in the world. And that might change everything. What does this mean? Whether you are stuck in the past, whether you feel broken in the present or you are fearful of the future, the invitation of resurrection is into this story, it is not the idea that sad stories have good endings, it’s the idea that sad stories with Jesus and His resurrection, have the possibility of new beginnings. Can you believe this? That’s what we’re invited into the sister, the possibility, this Jesus took a grave and he turned it into a God that is worth celebrating.

TRANSCRIPT

Please Note: Text is automatically produced. Errors may be present.

You wake up one morning and you take your customer stroll down a Jerusalem high stream, as you wander down the street, you pick up through your charter market traders and you think how peaceful life has been for the last few weeks. It’s been five weeks since Jesus has been arrested and crucified, and why you’re not sure that you agreed with the decision, a piece for life is pretty good, and you know about all things the Romans were not to be messed with.

As you wander down the street, you look further down and see a crowd is gathered, and your interest is around, you begin to walk closer, and you hear languages from all over the place. Now, Jerusalem’s a cosmopolitan city, so that’s not unusual in itself, but a crowd like this… Well, that is unusual. As you get closer, you start to recognize some faces, some of the men that have been conspicuous by that absence the last few weeks, some of the earliest followers of Jesus, they’re there in the center of the crowd and they’re the ones that are shouting excitedly and as you get close enough, one of them comes up to you, someone that you know well, and He begins to tell you over and over again, he’s not dead, he is risen, He is alive, and something your heart leaps and catches in your fruit because you begin to ask this question, what does that mean? You know for certain that Jesus died, the Romans, These invaders, they made mistakes of just as sure if a few innocent people have to dive for peace, they didn’t mind, but mistakes of execution. Never. No, Jesus was definitely dead.

But how do you explain these people, you know, resurrection doesn’t happen, and yet these people should be running, go hiding, but here they are in the street recruiting, shouting over and over again. Jesus is alive, He is not dead, he’s risen. And you’re left with this question, what does that mean? Does that mean that the story is true, and if the story is true, but then what would that mean? Is Jesus really alive? You can sit down… Thanks for standing with me all that time. Welcome friends. It’s great to have you here on Easter Sunday. If you are in church for the first time in a year, then that’s a wonderful thing, if you have tears coming to your eyes because you’re back in community, then there’s nothing wrong with that. This is our third service of the morning, the first one involved is all getting up at like 5, 45 or something like that, but I can say without, now that you guys are my favorite service, and I’ve said that on camera to the people at home as well, you guys are my favorite service, and if we’ve not worked out any deletions by now, we should have had a chart, it’s simply incompetence that is causing glitches at this point.

What does this mean? We’re starting in an unusual place, we’re starting five weeks after Jesus, death and resurrection was starting in this book called Acts, it’s… For those of you that are not from a church background, it’s one of the early texts, it’s how the church figured out how they were a church, as this crowd gallows and begins to yell that Jesus is alive and people start to question it. We told This, amazed and perplexed. They ask one another, what does this amazed and perplexed in a morning, like East to Sunday, I’d suggest there’s probably people from all… In all sorts of places, some of you would say you’re not following Jesus on a journey, we have a vision that says We wanna live in the way of Jesus with the heart of Jesus, and if your honest, you’d say, that’s not me, and that’s fine. Maybe you came because someone asked you to come all the way through to people who have been following Jesus for 60, 70, 80 years, and amongst us, there’s probably people in all sorts of different places, maybe you would describe yourself as actively agnostic. Yeah, you’re here because someone asked you, but you’re trying to maybe figure it out a little bit, but you’re just not sure about whether Jesus is who He said He is about faith in general.

Maybe there is another group of us that would describe ourselves as a seasonally spiritual, we get into this thing at outer, we have these rhythms that we pick it up or through every now and again, but it’s not consistent, and again, no judgement. That’s fine. Life is busy, and then there’s a group of you that might say We, I’m continually committed, I’m always around, and this is just a place that I call up across that spectrum. These two words maybe impact us differently, maybe some of us think about resurrection and we would say, I’m amazed, I believe this thing happened and it’s captivating, maybe others of us would say… I’m a little perplexed. I’m not sure, I’m trying to figure it out. But regardless, that question, What does this mean? Probably impacts all of us, maybe in different ways, but it’s probably relevant to all of us, resurrection is this huge idea, if it’s real, it changes everything. A few years ago, I had a friend who called me accidentally, I got one of classic but dials, and because my name begins with a… Get these fairly frequently. If you don’t know an Adam or an AR, and then it’s probably gonna come through to Alex, and so I got this core and it happens, I usually, I listen in to make sure they’re not talking about me.

I’m very narcissistic, I grant you, and then I listen in to make sure that if I can catch any news that’s available, and I know I’m tapping into some of your deep fears, because every single one of you has had moments in life where you looked at your phone, I said, please say I didn’t cause someone in this embarrassing moment, but this… What was different in that moment? It was a co-worker that called me and I picked up the phone… All I got her on the phone was, no, please, no. No, no, please know. You know, when my adrenaline shut up, I thought, Is she in trouble? Does she need help? Am I supposed to do something? And yet I knew the person that she was with and they’ve just been with me, and then I thought, well, they’re both co-workers, they now work for me, maybe it’s a prank, maybe they’re just trying to wind me up, and then when she called me back later when I found out was that I had actually had it right after receiving a call that her dad had passed away, it was the heartbreak in the anguish, so many of you have been through maybe this year, maybe during covid, maybe in the past, or you certainly will in the future, what I heard was have begging in this instance, in this particular case, could death please work backwards? Could it reverse itself? And could not be true.

And if you’ve been there, man, my heart aches for you. But every single one of us would deal with that at some point, that’s why resurrection is such vital subject, and when these earliest followers of Jesus began to grab hold of the significance of his resurrection, they started to sketch out for the next few years, well, what does it mean then what… How broad is in What are metaphors that we can use to explain it, so what I’d love us to do for our time together, and the creative team said to me… You have 25 minutes and I usually get 40, so it’s gonna take some work and I’m gonna talk fast. And we’ll get through this together. But when I sketch some images of the beauty and the joy of resurrection and what it meant, and to do that, I’m gonna rely mainly on stories and images in the hopes that when you take them away, those are the things that stick. So we started in Pentagonal five weeks from… They were gonna back track to start with, we’re gonna ask ourselves about Good Friday, this day that we’re just celebrated. And I want you to use your imagination.

Again, you’re one of Jesus earliest followers. You’ve been with him on Thursday when he’s been arrested, you spent the night pretty sleepless, and the next morning, Friday, you hear this going to be an execution, you grab a sword and hide it under your cloak, but really, what are you gonna do? You versus a whole bunch of Romans in the crowd that seems so in favor of Jesus last week is now firmly against him. You don’t wanna get too close to the front because you might recognize, but you don’t wanna be too far away because you love Jesus, you’ve spent three years with him and is important to you, and as you stand there, you think about the celebration you’ve just had that week, it’s been this festival called Passover, where you remembered how there was this time, your ancestors desperately needed God to do something and he did. Death literally passed over those thousand years ago, and you begin to ask, Could this happen for Jesus, because Jesus is good in a way that you’ve never met before. Could death pass over for him, and then you watch as his breathing becomes slower and more labored, and then you listen as with his final breathe, Cristi one word to tell a Ty.

What does it mean? Finished. Does he mean he is finished? Does he mean death is coming? Does he mean the plan that the idea is finished, does you mean that the hope that you have the dreams, that you sort of dream together, the idea that the world could be a better place, you didn’t understand him always, granted, but it always was so compelling. Does it mean that that is over and… And yeah, that seems true without Jesus, it is over, there is no hope, but then you think about the tone of his voice, he doesn’t seem defeated, he seems like… I think he thinks he accomplished something. He start to think about the word finished complete. One of the early metaphors that the church used to talk about death and resurrection was this idea of finished… This is John, one of Jesus biographers, one of his earliest followers, if you’re unfamiliar with the Bible, when he had received the drink, Jesus said, It is finished, and with that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. For the earliest followers of Jesus, His death and resurrection meant freedom from past guilt, from the weight of their own history that they carried all the time, the sense that every single one of us has this thing…

This inner voice that says, I’m not okay. I feel like I might not make it. If I had to wear good and bad in the scales, maybe I could throw some good in there, but they’d also be some bad and… And does that even matter if God is completely good, how do I stack up to this completely good God, they tapped into this sense of guilt that was already present in the people that they were talking to, and they said, Jesus death and his resurrection… This is the answer to that. He came, that that debt might be paid, and again, I’ll ask you to use your imagination, imagine you’re a man or a woman with a business dream, your dream is to send people into space to have them stay on a hotel where they can see the ice caps and the deers at the same time, and that would seem ridiculous 20 years ago, but now we’re like, We could… Seriously, if you’re talking about this soon, and so you happen to know the right combination of people with money and people with a science background, and you work together and the dream looks, it’s about to come true, the rich and famous line up to jump in on your project, they wanna go and experience what you’re offering, and then right before the end, disaster strikes, one of your final unmanned flights explodes, one of your scientists that did some of the key research confesses he, he actually can’t do what he said he was going to do.

You find out that has many financial people are betting against you as betting a for you, or betting for you, and then you find out that the government is investigating your work, and even worse, they’d like to help with a project at Tel government choke for you. There, from the least political fastening the room. In that moment, you say, What do I do about this situation? Your mortgage, your house, and because the Denver real estate market is crazy, you get 500000 to be able to begin to pay back a loan, and you come up with this plan that you work for the next 40 years and you’ll pay back a quarter of a million dollars a year, but you know, the plan is ridiculous. You could work for 40, 50, 20 lifetimes. And you wouldn’t be able to pay back this money. As you stand in the elevator, going up to see one of your main financial backers, you practice over and again this speech, trying to explain to them what you’re going to do, and as you walk into the office, you surprised that she’s smiling. And as you begin to outline your plan, she says, What do you mean? Repay the money.

I’m a venture capitalist, I take risk. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t do. There’s no debt to repay, and as you begin to offer the check from the house, say, or she says, Oh no, I bought the loan from the bank this morning, here’s the note, and she tears it up and she hands it to you, she asks how you’ve lived for the last few weeks, how you’ve survived with no money, and you tell her about the kids school payments that you’ve put on credit cards and how you build up more and more of that, and she says, How much does it cost? And she pulls out a check book and says, I’m gonna write a number on here, tell me how much it really costs, and then she says, Well, I’m gonna add a little more on the end just to make sure I cover it. And then as you begin to walk out unable to believe how your life has changed in the last few minutes, this… Oh, by the way, when you’re ready to make the project work, make sure you come back to us for the money, we still believe in you and what you’re doing now, of course, the story isn’t reality because that’s not how finance works, and it’s not even real allegory it doesn’t picture directly what Jesus did, it’s a story that’s meant to tap into the extraordinary ness of forgiveness for…

For the earliest followers of Jesus, when they thought about what deaf and resurrection meant, they said it was freedom from the debts of the past, you are free from everything that you would hold against yourself… This is this right, or pool, one of Jesus early followers right into a church and a town called Coles, when he was stuck in your old sin dead life, you’re incapable of responding to God, God brought you a life right along with Christ. Think of it, all sins forgiven, the sleep, Wipe clean, the old arrest were an canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross, they thought about freedom from the burdens of guilt, the week, all carry those things that you know… Look somewhere in your heart. But something more, when they talked about what Jesus death and resurrection meant, they talked about the idea of the possibility of transformation in the present. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The oldest pastor away, Behold, the new has come as they look for a word that would help them capture everything Jesus had done, the word they landed on was metamorphosis, the same word that we use to describe this process.

Now, this is usually where some really smart person comes up to me after the service, or drop me an email and says, Well, that type of Caterpillar wouldn’t turn into that type of butterfly, and you may be technically right, I don’t know. But you are missing the point. Perhaps there is this process that happens here where a caterpillar wraps itself in a cocoon and its body literally disintegrate, I always thought I just sprouted wings or something like that, but… No, no, no, it breaks down and it reforms as something else, when early followers of Jesus tried to sketch out what does death and resurrection, man, they said it means that you can be transformed into a different person because of that process, and if you’re a kid here in the room, we would love to give you a caterpillar when you leave, in the hope that it will turn into a butterfly, and I say hope because we do not guarantee this, and if any of you kids try and come and ask me for your money back where you didn’t pay anything. So you’re not getting any money out of me, but hopefully it does become a butterfly, hopefully it does do this transformation thing, If you ten for it and care for it, well, I’m gonna put the responsibility on you, and if it doesn’t work, it’s because you did it wrong, but the thing that Jesus offers that is guaranteed, that is something, he says No, this will happen the moment you decide to walk into life with Jesus, the moment you take what He did, that death and resurrection, say, God, would you…

Let that apply to me. He offers new life, this instant instant wants and for all transformation, it was new freedom from the past debts that you carried, but it was also a new life in the present, but not just as a one of thing… One of the things the earliest followers of Jesus sketched out was that this was a continual present and a continual transformation. This is the same guy, Paul, in a letter to a church in Rome. So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you, take you every day or an relive your sleeping eating, going to work and walking around life, and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does to you is the best thing you can do for him, don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking, instead fix your attention on God, you’ll be changed from the inside out. Is that continue or present changing thing, and we wanted to tap into this idea through story, and so we thought, Who better to pick… For those of you that know South well, then, a good friend, Carolyn Schmidt, who couldn’t be here today, but he’s here in presence on video and in spirit, and all those different things.

I didn’t just pick it ’cause she’s old than I am, but I picked it because a story has this beautiful poignancy and there’s a full 30 minutes video online, you can watch it if you like to. Aaron, with his magical skills, managed to cut it down to five. So here we go, homecare, thank you for sitting down and talking to us. And for those of you that don’t know, Carolyn is just a long time there, right up on it, letter and how long… You can tell everyone how about

67 years with 7 years member of South and went through covid and was in hospital. And we have one, I had moments where I was like, Wow, I’m not sure whether I get to see you walk in the building again, and to see you walk in my office today, it’s just such a joy and relief, and whether it being Easter, we wanted to talk about this idea of renewal

Of how God incredibly brings life out of death, as we’re talking about this, he creates gardens out of graves. We would start with just some history, like the beginning… In about middle history.

What did the beginning looked like a family life for me was… By the time I was 12 years old, both my parents were dead and both of my paternal grandparents were… Did at one time or another, I have lived in at least 15 different places with sometimes changes to Complete family, all within the blood relatives, but for what… A variety of reasons, and finally was split up from my sister when I was 10 years old, six months before my mom died in New Mexico, and I moved back to Denver to live with the… At an uncle there, and neighbors of ours introduced me to South Presbyterian Church at 1700 South Grand, and then as I got older, I went by myself, and my daughter one time said she never realized what it must have been like to go to a church by yourself as a kid, come home by yourself to abuse from the AD who hated anything to do with church.

Sometimes we think that the Jesus story and he’s working is this one-off event, it’s just a… No, and it seems like you’ve seen this pattern in your life is this

Is honoring ingall, it’s like this crack quilt, and it’s not that each crab has a history, but there’s dark and there’s lights in it, if you can see it. And I put it together because I thought on my mind operates like that… No, my whole life has been like that. On April 2nd, 2008, my husband died of pneumonia that went in to septicemia, we had no warning. No, nothing. He got sick on April 1st, wound up in the hospital, he was gone the next morning, 24 hours. Well, I have been an orphan and now a widow and a not so Dolan and utterly dependent on my Lord. That’s what this was utterly dependent in the hospital, and so then the staff started calling it miracle… Miracle, miracle. And so here I am just thinking, What do I… What now, that’s an increase… That it happens as a result of a miracle. I was talking to one of the nurses, I said, Anna, what do I do now? And she says, You go on, do it. Exact with what you’re doing now at it with loving people.

So what I was sitting here in spirit on resurrection Sunday. Yes, it is the highest day of the year, it’s this wonderful moment of joy, and so just for a second, just share with us as a community, what do the word Resurrection Sunday and what does the day mean

For us? It’s a resurrection, a renewal of delighting ourselves in the Lord and recognizing it’s not that he’s giving us the desires of our heart, He is the desire of our heart, I love taking the light and being… Any morning, every morning I wake up is potentially a resurrection, and at this point for me right now, I am going back and seeing it all, and I mean all the hard stuff, the loss… Everything as pure gift. And the fact is, the resurrection would not have been possible, except for the ugliness of what Jesus went through for us, resurrection only happens reserves death, we’re talking about Graves into guns rights, the seed that’s planted, it has to go in and has to die, and it springs out in your life, that what I leave behind. For everybody I know is somebody who like the Lord, not seems like a good, good way shoreline to cheats a resurrection on, come right down to it for every morning to be praying that.

Thanks so much, Carolyn. So good. Did you hear some of the language there, every day has the possibility of resurrection, you talked about the good, the bad, how God was leaving this tapestry, that’s what it looks like for life, not to just be about transformation once… Forever, the transformation to be continue this partnership that’s got… Goes on, and it’s almost like God in His love for us, said, Transformation is fun. Why don’t you and I do that in your life together for a long time, this is the process that you are invited into in death and resurrection, but not just individual, ever for this whole world, this is this continual process that seems to go on and on and on my wife has this best friend that she’s never… Ever met. She loves Joanna Gaines from fixer, because I’m annoying. I regularly make out like, I don’t like them a tour, when in actual fact, I think they’re great. And she just rolls her eyes, which is normal, right? Every half-decent guy has a great woman behind him, rolling his eyes, and so she will talk about just the wonders that you see it, and I just think what they do is amazing.

You see old, and then you see what is possible, and the new friend, a Reese’s a part of our community, he sent me a couple of pictures of a kitchen he was working on this last couple of weeks, you see old, and then you see new and you talk about a life coming out of all things into new things, it’s like God in His love rested, I long to see transformation in you… Yes, once and forever like a butter, a cater, Philip becoming a butterfly, but also continue. When the first followers of Jesus talked about resurrection, they talked about, yes, freedom from the guilt of the past and transformation in this continual presence that you are invited into, but for the first thousand years, one of the predominant metaphors that often gets forgot or forgotten today is the idea that Jesus was victor over death, that Jesus death was a victory that every single one of us needed because deep in our own hearts, there is this fear of this ultimate reality that we all at some point must face. I remember as a child getting on a bus every day and go to school on the school bus, drove pastor graveyard, and for some reason, instinctively as a young child, what I would do was I would get the point where the grave it started and he would hold my breath, that was terrible on the days with the traffic backed up two and a half Hadiths, bus really needs to move, but there was something instinctual and me that said, I don’t like this thing, it was my own childish equivalent of whistling past the gravida the earliest follows of Jesus sketched out what this meant, they said they tapped into this problem I had death and the grave, and never satisfied.

It affects every single one of us. That’s why resurrection is such a big subject because it affects us all and it taps into our ancient story. For those of you unfamiliar with the Bible, the first story in the Bible is about a man and a woman and the garden. It’s about relationship with God. We don’t have time to go into the whole thing. But it’s there and it’s part of our history. This first man through his own broken us, through his own failure, broke that relationship and changed his own life ever and doing so changed as to… When you look back into this book Genesis, which means beginnings, we see, Adam took a guard and then I was gonna pick an English God, but it is Masters week coming up, so I picked the wonderful Augustana tonal golf course, and some of you could… People that love golf can just picture yourself there and know that you’ll never get there, but… We all have to suffer. Adam takes a garden and he turns it into a grave, he takes a Gada, and he turns it into a grief, and that affects every single one of us for all time.

And as these early followers of Jesus started to realize the magnitude of what Jesus had done and what resurrection meant… This all connects together. This is one of the resurrection appearances of Jesus in this book. John, Now, Mary stood outside the tomb crying, notice that it’s the women that get there first, the men were still Sunoco, and we’re trying to figure what to do next. As she wore, she’d been over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white seated where Jesus body had been, one of the head and the other at the foot, the as a woman where you crying. They have taken my Lord away, she said, and I don’t know where they have put him. At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He has a woman where you cram… Who is it? You are looking for… Thinking he was the gardener. She said, So if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him in, I will get him. Jesus said to a marry, she turned towards him and cried in our make for Boni, which means teacher, Jesus said, Do not hold on to me for I have not yet send it to the Father.

Go instead to my brothers and tell them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father to my God and to your God. Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news, I have seen the Lord, and she told them that he had said these things to her. This first start on this man back in Genesis takes a garden and he turns it into a grave in this wonderful symmetry. The reverse happens here. She thought he was the gardener. And maybe in some weird way. She isn’t wrong about that. In the same way, Adam takes a garden and turns into a grave, Jesus takes a grieve and he turns it into a garden, this place that is this about death becomes this place that is about life, Jesus took a grave and turned it into a guard and for the first hundreds of years of church life, one of the central ideas and metaphors was about the fact that Jesus had been victorious over death, it’s why I love the fact that different churches around the world, specifically Greek or other Dux churches, will say over and over again, on Easter or pass, Christ is risen from the dead.

Trample over death. By death. On those in the tombs bestowing life. This early metaphor was the idea that Jesus, when He looked defeated, only looked defeated, it only seemed that way, but what we were waiting for was the ultimate comeback story, it was like Muhammad Ali sat on the ropes for eight rounds against you free Fraser and then there’s that moment where he says Is that all you’ve got any starts punching back, it’s like my beloved Detroit Red Wings losing in 1996, then coming back and literally wiping the floor with the Colorado have large in 1997. It’s this idea that you haven’t seen this coming, the thing that looked like the end was not the end of the thing that looked like death was not death, the thing that looked like a grape was not a grave, it just simply… It just simply seemed that way, and for hundreds of years, this idea of Jesus as the victor of death was the thing that remains Central. This is a picture of Jesus standing on the gates of hell in His resurrection, in one hand holds a U. In the other hand, he holds e symbol symbolically, every single one of us and says, death does not affect you in the same weight anymore, that is the stark claim of resurrection, there is new life offered.

This is an unknown writer to a group called the Hebrews, Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by their death, by His death, He might break the power of him holds the power of death, that is the devil And free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. This is Paul again to the same church and… Wrong, but the gift is not like the trespass, for if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to many. If you’re a child and you’ve never ready, get your parents to read The Chronicles of Narnia with you, this is the lion Aslan you can watch the movie if you want, it’s not as good, but… The book is the key. This is a abelian who represents Jesus in this allegory, the which would have known that when a willing victim had committed no, rectory was killed in a trade set, the table would crack and death itself would start working backwards. Think about my friend, think about your own hearts and think about that cripples know, please know.

Could death please work backwards, the resurrection is the promise that one day death will indeed work backwards for hundreds and thousands of years, that was the central metaphor of the Church, Christ is victorious of the over-death and when you in your grief and Ian, a grief place flowers on a tomb and watch them. Well, we’re speaking to the idea that one day those flowers might take root in the ground, that a garden may shoot up from a grave, that new life will be possible in the face of that, that’s the ridiculous audacious claim of the Christian church for hundreds of years. Resurrection says that The worst thing isn’t the last thing about the world, it’s the next to the last thing. The last thing is the best thing, it’s the power from on high that comes down into the world, that wells up from the rock bottom west of the world like a hidden spring. Can you believe it? The last best thing is the laughing deep in the heart of the saints, sometimes our hearts even yes, you are terribly loved and forgiven. Yes, you are healed. All is well, the story of resurrection is the one day that in the midst of this brokenness in the world, one day will gather together in resurrection and we will live about it together.

The idea of the early church writers was not that Jesus had given us new freedom from past gets, not that he had just given us new life in this continual present, but there was this hope in the future that was transformative, it was centered around all together the idea that God is alive and He is loose in the world. And that might change everything. What does this mean? Whether you are stuck in the past, whether you feel broken in the present or you are fearful of the future, the invitation of resurrection is into this story, it is not the idea that sad stories have good endings, it’s the idea that sad stories with Jesus and His resurrection, have the possibility of new beginnings. Can you believe this? That’s what we’re invited into the sister, the possibility, this Jesus took a grave and he turned it into a God that is worth celebrating.

Easter Sunday 20212022-07-14T13:44:34-06:00
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