As a pastor, I want to help my congregation, friends and family understand the powerful message and meaning of Easter. To be able to communicate this life changing event—I have needed to understand this incredible reality:
Jesus Christ died for my sins, physically rose from the dead, and has given me new life!
I did not hear about Jesus Christ until I was 21 years old. While serving in the Navy, stationed on Guam, I led a reckless, out-of-control life. A missionary talked to me and told me about how Jesus could change my life. The story caught me off guard. I was searching for truth in all the wrong places but didn’t know it. I responded to the missionary’s request—I gave up on living for myself and gave my life to Jesus. I have never been the same.
“(He) died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (2 Corinthians 5:15 ESV)
Easter Sunday celebrates the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The events that occurred approximately 2000 years ago in Jerusalem permanently changed the world. Every time we write a date, we are using the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the focal point. More importantly, Christ defeated the enemy, atoned for our sins, and opened the door for us to talk personally to God.
I love this day and frankly, celebrate it every day. Easter Sunday reminds me that Jesus really was who he claimed to be . . . God in the flesh. He came to earth to redeem me and change me. I am a child of God.
On the evening before Jesus was crucified, he had a private meeting with his disciples and explained what was going to happen the next day and how his death and resurrection would change everything.
“Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” (John 14:19 ESV)
The disciples loved Jesus and followed him for years. They must have thought, “I don’t get it. Where in the world is he going? I’m not going to see him any more? I’m already alive—what does, ‘You also will live,’ mean?”
The real meaning of Easter impacted me in ways I can’t explain. When I made my decision to serve Jesus, I began experiencing real life.
Pastor friend: You and I have a life with real meaning—not emptiness or the feeling of being lost. Everyone wants to discover truth, meaning, and a deep sense of peace.
“Christ, who is your life” (Colossians 3:4a NLT)
One of the greatest weapons that the enemy uses against pastors is discouragement. He will continually bombard us and tell us, “Give up. You don’t have an abundant life.” The enemy created lying. His natural way of communicating is lying. What do we do? Go back to resurrection day, and remind yourself that you have the meaning of life—NEW LIFE through Jesus Christ.
“What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now!” (1 Peter 1:3-4 Message)
We were not made to live for ourselves. We were made to live for Jesus Christ. I have known Jesus for decades and have sensed something that I didn’t sense before giving my life to Jesus—meaning, contentment and peace.
Another truth we discover is that the sense of bondage has dissipated. We are free from the continual bondage of sin. Oh, we have our temptations, and we stumble occasionally, but we’re free to live a new life in the freedom of God.” (Rom. 7:6b Message) God’s grace has invaded our lives.
“God gives you what you need—not what you deserve”
God gave us a second chance, and he will give us a third, fourth. He will never give up on us.
“He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.” (1 Tim. 2:6 NLT)
I’ve worked with thousands of pastors and have found most to be worn out and many times burned out. We need to seek this Christ energy and move the kingdom of God forward.
‘You will not succeed by your own strength or by your own power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD All-Powerful” (Zachariah 4:6 NCV)
Remember, the Lord wants you to live and minister in his power—his energy and his peace.
Celebrating the resurrection day (Easter) and understanding how we are absolutely changed when we believe that he died, rose physically from the dead and is praying for us right now is something we can remind ourselves daily.
COVID has changed so much. Many pastors have taken a break from ministry. Many church planters have given up on reaching that community they deeply love. Confusion, questions about what to do and what our church look like after this pandemic have been part of most of our thinking.
Now—especially now—is the time to focus on the powerful truth that God knows. He will give us wisdom, favor and energy to fulfill all he has called us to do.
“I came to give life—life in all its fullness.” (John 10:10 NCV)