Easter Is Our Superbowl

If you didn't know, over the last few weeks, I have needed to take some of my time and put it towards preparing for a seminar I did last Thursday night at William Jessup University as part of my final doctoral project. The seminar went well, and I am now on my way to finishing by December as planned.

I then took the last few days to unplug and get my energy back. But now, I am excited about putting all my energy back into the ministry of Horizon.

Particularly, I feel ready to lead us to lean towards Easter. What do I mean?  I mean - that I want the Easter season, which begins on Ash Wednesday, March 1 and ends Easter Sunday, April 17 - to be deeply meaningful and significant for us as a church.

This may be a crass way of saying it, but Easter is our Superbowl. In the NFL there are five weeks of training, 17 weeks in the regular season, 3 weeks of playoffs and 2 weeks of preparation, which all leads to the Superbowl. The whole season is focused on this one event.

Similarly, the Christian Calendar begins at Advent and leads us up to Ash Wednesday, which begins a 40 day (7 week) process that leads us into the Easter celebration.

In these weeks, we will use the Thought for the Week, weekend services, as well as suggested resources to prepare our hearts for Jesus as Resurrected Son of God.

As we begin to shape this Easter narrative over the next few weeks, I want to encourage us all to prepare our hearts as to what God may want to do in us and through us in this vibrant and wonderful time of the Christian year.

Grace & Peace,
Brad Swope

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Where We Find Hope

This is the first week of Advent. And the theme for this week is Hope.

Hope is a key ingredient for human life. When we are hopeless, we find ourselves destitute and in despair. How does Jesus provide hope for us?

Here are a few scriptures to meditate on that show us where our hope lies... (we will pursue this more next Sunday):

1)      Hope that God has and will accomplish the work of our salvation

John 8:34 36– “Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

2)      Hope for our current healing and transformation by the spirit

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 – “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

3)      Hope in a future resurrection (life after death)

I Corinthians 15:19-23 - If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him

4)      Hope in Jesus’s ability to work in and through us, his chosen people

Ephesians 1:11 - In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory

Eph. 2:10 – “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

These are just a few... (we also have hope in the providence of God, in his timing, in his overarching purposes, etc...)

But of the three, I have listed, which one stands out as the one you need the Spirit to reinforce in your thoughts? Take time to meditate on the scripture I provided to see if the Spirit will give you renewed hope in that area.

Grace & Peace,
Brad Swope

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