@robertkwendt || lead pastor
Easter is a big deal. It's a big deal in the Bible. It's a big deal to our faith as Christians. It's a big deal to us as a church.
Easter is a time to celebrate the empty tomb, the reality that Jesus has in fact conquered death and has raised himself from the dead. It is a celebration of his continual presence by the Spirit in our lives and world today. It is a time to have relationship with the God of the universe!
BUT here is a struggle I face the day after all of the Easter celebration—why does it seem to just end?
Why do we celebrate over one weekend, then go back to our regular routines?
Why are churches all across the globe able to have more services and more people, but then go back to their normal schedule the following week?
It doesn't have to be that way. Here are some simple ways we can make Easter a part of our regular lives rather than it being just a special holiday.
#1 — live in relationship
Think about a best friend in your life. A person who is extremely close to you. Do you spend time with them occassionally or frequently?
At my wedding, my wife had four bridesmaids and I had four groomsmen. These were the cream of the crop, the best of friends, our hand-picked lineup to stand in front of everyone at our wedding. When I look back at the pictures, it amazes me that in all honesty I talk with only two of my groomsmen now—and one of those I haven't seen in over two years. My wife only talks with two of the girls who stood up in her wedding. (AND full disclosure—two of the four people we still see are family!)
If we were to get remarried today, we would have different people standing by our side, some people off the invite list, others added to it. Our wedding would be a whole lot different.
This is because friendship is often about time and proximity. We are friends with the people we spend the most amount of time with and who we are closest in proximity to.
The same is true about our relationship with Jesus. He is closer to us than any person can humanly come. He knows everything about us (Psalm 139). He died to have relationship with us. Yet, he seems to be the one we often want to just tuck away in the closet for when we want to show him off to people. He is like the friend that we have on backup.
It shouldn't be that way! Jesus is who we should be spending time with continually. We should be celebrating his life, death, and resurrection continually. We should be talking and listening to him continuously. Instead of focusing on Jesus just throughout Lent (the 40 days minus Sundays leading up to Easter), let's focus on him all the time.
Friendship is often about time and proximity.
#2 — welcome jesus in daily
When you are hurting, who do you turn to? The reality is that no one ever wants to hurt alone. It is in our human nature to want to share our pain with at least one other person. This can even be recognized from a very early age.
Think about when a child comes home from a bad day at school. Maybe a kid picked on him, said something mean to him, or even just ignored him. The child may walk in the house and not want to talk, immediately going into his or her room; however, everything about their body says, "I HAD A BAD DAY." They want the attention, they want to share—even if they don't verbally say it. Parents will respond by going into the room and beginning the probing...
"I can tell something happened; you aren't yourself."
"I'm fine, leave me alone!"
We know how it ends—eventually the child shares about what happened. They wanted to from the very beginning!
Like a child welcoming his or her parents into the room, we must welcome Jesus into our circumstances. Yes, He is God and can do anything, but He doesn't operate that way. God operates in relationship, and he wants us to hold up our part of it. He wants us to converse with him.
Every day, we face struggles and battles. We face hardships and pain. We shouldn't go through them alone, but instead need to be continually asking Jesus to come into our circumstances. When we welcome him in, he reveals himself to us. We then begin to see his good plan even amidst our current mess.
On the road to Emmaus, Jesus came alongside two men. They never recognized him until they welcomed him in.
Where in your life can you welcome Jesus in daily?
By this time, they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, but they begged him, 'Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.' So he went home with them. (Luke 24:28-29 NLT)
#3 — invite a friend
This past Easter, we saw a lot of visitors. The reason why?
People invited people.
A church can put up billboards, hang signs, run Facebook ads, and even send out fliers. But the number one reason people come to church for the first time is because someone else invited them to.
We can be really good about inviting our friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors to the big events. However, shouldn't we act like every Sunday is a big deal?
Just because Easter is over, it doesn't mean we should stop inviting people. In fact, we should be continuing to invite people every chance we get. Jesus is a big deal every day; and whether it's Easter or not, people need to have opportunities to get to know Him. After all, God desires to use ordinary people to do His extraordinary work. Each day is a great opportunity for God to use us.