Season of Easter 2018

April 8             2nd Sunday of Easter            Theme:            Doubt Is Not Unforgivable

Scriptures:  Psalm 133    1 John 1:1-2:2      John 20:19-31

Thoughts:       Why are we so hard on Thomas?  We all doubt at times.  Maybe that’s it.  We are hardest on others where we fall short.  Jesus came as the light of the world to enlighten the world and as the atoning sacrifice for our sin.  Of course Jesus walked right up to Thomas and rather than rebuke him for doubt he gave him the evidence he needed.  We are the evidence that the world needs to believe.  Our lives are changed.  Our sins are forgiven.  The Savior lives in us.  Can others see and feel his presence through us?  Are we that close to him?

 

April 15           3rd Sunday of Easter              Theme:            What Are the Children of God to Do?

Scriptures:  Acts 3:11-21    Psalm 4    1 John 3:1-7

Theme:            The excitement of Easter is over.  The disciples (and we) now have to live out the resurrection life.  The message, the ministry and the Kingdom have been given over to us to proclaim, practice and live.  Everything Jesus did and proclaimed is now ours to do and proclaim.  Peter and John healed a man and then proclaimed the forgiving/healing love of Christ.  1 John tells us that we as God’s children will be like Jesus. Our righteous actions will define us as the Children of God.

 

April 22           4th Sunday of Easter                Theme:            Do You Hear the Good Shepherd’s Voice?

Scriptures:  Psalm 23  1 John 3:16-24   John 10:11-18, 22-28

Thoughts:       Am I the only one who resents being called a sheep?  They are notorious for their lack of intelligence and their stubbornness.  But here it is.  When we hear Jesus’ voice and follow him we become more than mere sheep.  We become the redeemed followers of the living Christ.  We begin the process of being formed into the image of the Lamb of God – the Good Shepherd.  Even writing this looks confusing, but it’s the Gospel.  1 John puts it this way, “He laid down his life for us – and we ought to lay our lives down for others.”  The Good Shepherd lays his life down for the sheep.  Now it’s our turn.

 

April 29           5th Sunday of Easter   5th Sunday One Worship

One of the missionaries we support will be featured today and will probably speak this day.  There is a good chance I will be gone; returning from a continuing education event.  Scriptures, hymns and themes will be determined by the speaker in consultation with our worship teams.

 

May 6              6th Sunday of Easter   Communion     Theme:            Gardening for the Kingdom

Scriptures:  Psalm 98    Mark 4:1-9       Mark 4:10-20

Thoughts:       Mark does not have Jesus tell many Parables.  This is the first and major parable Jesus tells.  The seed is the gospel, the sower is the one who proclaims the word, and the hearers are the ones who receive the word and respond (the soil).  Even though the gardener has responsibility for the condition of the soil in real life, Jesus used this illustration to explain why not everyone receives the Gospel fully and produces fruit.  What are we to do to help amend the soil so that more have the opportunity hear and respond to the word with joy and growth?  Break up the soil on the path, remove the rocks and add nutrients, pull the weeds and mulch them and continue to improve the good soil.  Collectively, as the Church, we are the gardeners as well as the soil.  We have work to do, and maybe that is part of the fruit we are to produce in the Garden of the Kingdom.

 

May 13            7th Sunday of Easter;    Mother’s Day   Theme:            Breaking the Taboos 1

Scriptures:  1 John 5:1-13      Psalm 1      Mark 5:1-20

Thoughts:       Throughout his ministry Jesus did the unexpected.  This story is filled with surprises.  The Decapolis was foreign territory, he enters a cemetery, he confronts and drives out demons from a gentile, he ruins the livelihood of a group of farmers, he rejects a willing disciple.  All of this needs a bit of explanation.  Jesus was willing to bring the Gospel to unexpected places to unexpected people, to confront evil and drive it out, to upset the status quo and minister to one hurting individual, to send one unprepared to the mission field.  We will unpack this wonderful story and apply it to our situation as a Church called to proclaim the word in unexpected places and ways.