Monthly Archives: March 2012

Easter: A celebration of new life and the hope of new beginnings.

Easter is one of my favorite times of the year.  The winter is over.  The weather is warmer.  The days are longer.  The changes in nature that accompany the spring remind us how the resurrection of Jesus changes everything.  As the trees bud and the flowers begin to bloom after the apparent death of winter subsides, we remember how the resurrection of Jesus broke the power of death itself and offers us new life.   As the days grow longer and warmer, we remember how the love of Christ enlightens and warms our hearts with his love-infused truth.  Listen to those birds singing and think of the song God put in your heart.  Hear the patter of spring showers and think of His blessings that rain down His mercies upon us.

Over the next several weeks we will be preparing our hearts for an amazing celebration of Easter at The Capital Church.  The week before Easter will be particularly exciting.  On Wednesday, April 4th, we will have a Messianic Seder.  The Seder is the traditional meal for celebrating Passover.  This would have been the meal Jesus and his disciples enjoyed together the night before he was crucified.  Come join us to experience the rich traditions celebrated during the Last Supper.

If you know kids, you won’t want them to miss out on the fun of the Easter Egg Hunt on the Saturday before Easter!  There will be games, prizes, food, bouncy castles, and lots of excitement.  Of course this event is for our own children, but we believe it is a wonderful opportunity to invite others.  This is a practical way to show the love of Jesus to this community.  It is a great chance to build relationships and to see how God might work to soften the hearts of those who may not know Him.

Easter Sunday itself will be a life-giving, Spirit-filled celebration of the resurrection.  We celebrate the resurrection every Sunday, but Easter Sunday will be a special focus on the new life and hope the resurrection brings.  Whom do you know who needs life and hope?   Why not invite them to church on Easter Sunday?

Over the next few weeks, I am going to be asking some of you who attend the second service to try coming to the first service.  The second service is filling up, and we need to make more room for guests in that service.  I would like to ask at least 50 people to consider making the first service their primary time of worship.  To make the transition a bit easier, we are moving the service times.  The new schedule will be Sunday services at 9am and 11am with Sunday School starting at 10:15am.  Beginning Easter Sunday, we are offering a full complement of children’s ministry at BOTH services.  This means we’ll need a lot more workers; but we are hoping that this, along with the new service times, might make it easier for some to commit to the first service.  Those who are not accustomed to coming to church will more likely attend the later service.  So, some of us who are more comfortable can help them by coming at the earlier time.

Please be in prayer that God would use this season of our church’s ministry to advance His kingdom in our community.  May this Easter be a real celebration of new life!


Let Your Gospel Enthusiasm Show: Cultivating a greater appreciation for the power of the resurrected Lord.

February was a great month for The Capital Church!  I want to thank you for your hard work in making last month’s outreach a success.  In particular, I want to thank you for bringing your friends to Friend Day on February 12th.  We had a powerful time of worship led by the Emmanuel Singers, and we talked about how the greatest act of friendship in history was when Jesus died for us on the cross.  God moved in many hearts that day.  One young girl was contemplating suicide, but Jesus intervened in her life and she has hope that was not present in her life before that encounter with the Lord.  Thank God for His Spirit’s work among us.  I pray we will continue to be a place where the hurting can find help and security.  Does that excite you?

Because this is basketball country, I’m sure many of you are following the March Madness games.  I believe there will be 67 games set to determine the NCAA champions.  If you’ve ever been to a college basketball game, or any serious sporting competition, you can’t help but notice the passion and enthusiasm of the fans.  While there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with enjoying a good game, there is something we ought to be much more excited about as believers.  We ought to be excited about the work of the Spirit among us.  We ought to be as enthusiastic in praising the God of the universe as those who scream themselves hoarse and work themselves into a frenzy over athletic prowess.

I wonder what it would be like if people would get as excited about Jesus as they do about sports.  It’s okay to be demonstrative when your team is playing a rival.  It’s acceptable to jump with glee when your team makes a game-clinching three pointer with only seconds to go.  It’s normal to paint yourself blue or red (or whatever color) and wear funny hats and be exuberant in support of your team.  But, when it comes to worship, similar levels of emotional demonstration are often frowned upon as excessive and emotionalistic.

Now let me be clear.  I am NOT saying we should go wild in our services like they do in college basketball games.  The truth is, overly demonstrative worship can often distract us from the object of our worship.  The more we focus on what we do during our times of praise, the less authentic it becomes.  What I AM saying is that we should be as enthusiastic about the transforming power of the Gospel as we are about the outcome of a game that has absolutely no eternal value.

In our current sermon series, “Desperate Households,” we are taking a closer look at what the Bible has to say about the family.  My prayer is that we would get as passionate about helping desperate families and about reaching out to those who don’t know Jesus as we are about hoping our team performs well this month.

Life can be challenging; but we have hope that the world does not have.  It is a hope that is worth getting excited about.  It is a hope that is not based on our resources or our abilities.  It is a hope that is based on God’s love for us. It is a hope that transcends even the power of death itself.  That should cause us to want to celebrate.  Could it be that we don’t get too excited about that because we don’t appreciate the reality of it?  My prayer in the time between now and Easter, the annual acknowledgment of what we celebrate every Sunday, is that we will come to a new appreciation of the power of the resurrection and what it means for us.  If we get excited about that, we’ll know God has done a work in our hearts!