Easter weekend tends to be one big blur in the life of a preacher.
For me, this year's blur was even bigger than usual, in part because of the Thursday conclusion of Spring Breakthrough and in part because of the addition of a Saturday night Easter service (funny concept . . . celebrating the resurrection on the evening before it actually happened).
Here are the five most salient observations on a weekend where we pray God showed up in people's lives:
5. Thursday night: Spring Breakthrough celebration with 90 teenagers and their families gathering in our Corner Campus to rememeber and reflect on a week of service. The highlight was a surprise guest appearance by Jamie Grace, a recording artist out of Atlanta who has a current hit called "Hold Me." Our students were blown away. Here's the song itself, which was of course her encore that night:
4. Friday all day: Interactive prayer chapel dwelling on the passion of Jesus. Our team did a terrific job designing the space. I believe the people of GSUMC are more comfortable on serve teams or in worship gatherings than they are taking part in contemplative prayer ... we did not have the kind of response to the prayer chapel we hoped for.
3. Saturday evening. I had no idea what to expect. 10 people? 200? God was so good -- so much bigger and better than my doubts -- and over 300 showed up, thereby creating space for more people to come on Sunday morning.
2. Saturday and Sunday. I fought with the sermon all weekend. I knew I had some good stuff to say but had a hard time remembering when and where I was going to say it. I drew the message from Romans 4:25 - 5:10 where Paul's logic is both complicated and complicating. Paul's thinking hinges on the "how much more" refrain that repeats in both verses 9 & 10, so that was the heart of my sermon as well. If God can do the hard thing of making enemies into friends first, then how much more (meaning how much easier, bigger, bolder) can he do the second part of saving people by his life.
The one part of the message I never overlooked on any of the five times of delivering it was the beautiful comment by one of our teenagers. We put it up on the screen for all to see. Here it is:
When I say I am a Christian, I am not shouting 'I am saved!' I am whispering, 'I was lost and that is why I chose this way.'
Doesn't the bible say that a child shall lead them . . . ?
1. Sunday afternoon. If you didn't cry with Bubba Watson winning the Masters, your heart is two sizes two small.