Pastor Andrew Owen
Dear Church and online church friends,
WELCOME TO EASTER SERVICES WITH DESTINY CHURCH ONLINE!
We are about to celebrate the most important of days, not only in the Christian calendar but in history, NOTHING greater has ever happened, when God died for man in an act of extravagant love and astonishing grace. True, we have never had to celebrate it like this before. But as we look back and remember we must also look forward and apply.
Consider this account, just a short while before Jesus was crucified, and the time and place when Jesus made the most outlandish claim – I am the resurrection and the life.
It was of course the time when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, and it was the last miracle performed before His own death & resurrection.
“Thomas, therefore, who is also called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, let us also go, that we may die with him”. John 11:16
Jesus under threat of His life had withdrawn some safe distance from Jerusalem. He was to die for the sins of the people, but not just yet. While in His retreat, news reaches Him that His best friend Lazarus was seriously sick. The problem was that Lazarus lived with his sisters just outside Jerusalem. This was the danger zone as far as Jesus and His disciples were concerned.
We can read a story but not read the situation.
You see, just as God is the Father of lights, and according to James ALL good things proceed from Him, such is the devil in that all evil things proceed from him. There is no doubt that Satan himself was behind the sickness. He hit on one whom Jesus loved in an effort to get Jesus back up into Jerusalem, with the clear intention of finishing off this sinless, unfaltering man. Make no mistake there is only one source of this disease ravaging the earth.
But Jesus not only heard the news but read the story behind the news.
Surely, this man of compassion would just have to respond to the news that His best friend was sick? In whose home He had eaten, rested, laughed and relaxed. Of all people this one ought to be healed.
The devil must have thought “I have got him now”. But Jesus did not react, He responded. He showed response-ability.
He stayed right where He was for two more days. As if throwing down the gauntlet saying, “When you do your worst, I will do my best”. So often when you are right on track with God, challenges come to bring in disunity and distraction. But don’t react in frustration, respond in faith. You may not be able to control what comes towards you, but you can control what comes from you – this is real response-ability. Didymus means, “twin”. Perhaps Thomas had a twin, hence the nickname. But all too often we have twin responses in our lives. OK, we will follow Jesus, but this thing is going from bad to worst. Thomas showed willing to go back up to Jerusalem but expected it to be the end and not a glorious beginning.
The stakes were high, Jesus was coming to the end of His earthly ministry, and the ultimate sacrifice was just a short time away. But it was to happen in God’s perfect timing, not at the devil’s bidding.
Jesus told us that He had the power to lay down His life and the power to take it up again. We can be at peace when He is in control.
The prophet tells us that weeping may be found in the night, but for sure joy comes in the morning. And what a day this turned out to be. We find in the same chapter the shortest verse in the Bible, “Jesus wept”. He does feel for you and for me when we are hurt and suffering and thrown around like some bone in a mad dog’s mouth, but never put a full stop where there should only be a comma.
He is the resurrection and the life, and when He speaks those words into you as He did into that grave, you will be able to do no other than come forth and shine. Listen – is that your name He’s calling?
Invite ALL your friends to church online, they desperately need to hear the hope of this message. Remember all those outreach times we would say, ‘bring a friend’. Well it’s never been easier. And EASTER is a moment like no other.
Focus first on getting them with you to church.
Easter Sunday 12th April:
11am (UK time) with Kids church at 10.25am.
Even if they only pop in for 5 minutes it might be enough for God to do something.
Then we are breaking bread not once but TWICE over the weekend.
At 5pm (UK time) Sue and I will once again be discussing important questions and finding faith-filled answers, sure to encourage you at this time.
Good Friday 10th April:
BUT we will also be Facebook Live Streaming breaking of bread from our home 7pm (UK time) on Good Friday. Join us if you can.
We continue to send this out by post to all those who need it or request it.
We love you guys, Happy Easter!
Andrew & Sue