Christians Should Not Have To Go To Church On Easter

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That’s right. If you are a Christian, you should not HAVE TO GO to church on Easter Sunday. Are you feeling the annual holiday guilt trip? Which scenario best describes your Christian dilemma?

I have to go to church on Easter Sunday because…..

  1. my parents would be disappointed if I didn’t attend.
  2. my spouse really wants me to go.
  3. my children should have some religion in their lives.
  4. I missed Christmas service so I need to go at least once a year.
  5. its a tradition since I was a child.
  6. if I go on Easter and take communion my sins will be forgiven.

So, if these apply to your situation, I have some great news for you. You shouldn’t have to go to church on Easter Sunday if you don’t want to. Stay home and remove those feelings of guilt. Maybe it is time to give up on calling yourself a Christian….maybe the flame has burned out?

Easter Is Special

The good news of the Easter season is that Jesus died for people that didn’t ask to be redeemed. He died for people who were “burned out” from “religious” traditions. Jesus died for people who were going through the paces of religion for their family. He died to become a focal point of people’s lives more than once a year.

If you are attending a worship service on Easter Sunday:

  • you should WANT to be in church on Sunday.
  • you should WANT to thank Jesus for dying on the cross.
  • you should WANT to thank him for his gift of salvation.
  • you should WANT to proclaim and affirm your faith.

How will you arrive at church this Sunday?

Will you WANT to attend or will you HAVE to be there?

The later experience will lack the joy of the Easter season.

All I ask is that you pray to Jesus that he will restore your faith or for the first time, reveal Himself to you in a new way.

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Join Me on Sunday

Join me on Easter Sunday at Park Church in Tinton Falls, NJ. I will be attending the 9:30 am service, and I would love to sit with you. Drop me an email if you can join me: brian@pcgmailer.com. The church is located just a few minutes from the Monmouth Mall, near Exit 105 on the Garden State Parkway. Here are easy to follow directions.

Park Church is an amazing place to worship; come as you are. Families with children will be glad to know that the church offers classes on Sunday for children of all ages, so bring the family to church on Sunday. If you love music, you will love the singing and church band. So join me this Sunday and let’s celebrate our faith together.

Happy Easter everyone!

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When Attacked How Do You React?

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Today at Park Church in Tinton Falls, New Jersey our Pastor kicked off a series entitled “Look Again; the art of seeing Jesus.” The six part series looks at six famous paintings that depict different aspects of the life of Jesus. The first painting in this series is called “The Taking of Christ” and was painted by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

The artist captures the scene that was described in Matthew 26: 47-56 and I have included that passage below:

While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” 49 And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. 50 Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. 51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” 55 At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. 56 But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.

Look at The Hands of Jesus

hands-prayingWhat hit me the most from today’s sermon was the pastor’s remarks about Jesus’ hands. In the painting you can see that Jesus is not resisting the arrest. He is not trying to defend himself against the angry mob. His hands are clasped together as if in prayer; Jesus sees the bigger picture for his life and does not let the moment overwhelm him.

Jesus could have reacted in self-interest when his friend Judas betrayed him. Jesus reprimanded one of his followers, who drew a sword to cut off the ear of a servant. Jesus said that he could have called twelve legions of angels to his defense. He was claiming that 72,000 angels would have appeared at his command but he didn’t react that way.

Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?

With all his power he did not react to the mob like you and I might have reacted. Jesus knew that what looked like a temporary win for evil would be the true downfall of evil. He knew that evil would never win against the goodness of God.

His disciples ran from the scene, as depicted by the man in the olive green shirt on the left side of the painting.  The disciples lost their focus and thought that evil had won.  The following day Jesus died on the cross. Three days later, on Easter Sunday he rose from the dead.

I Missed That Message

Having read the above passage in Matthew, hundreds of times, I must admit that I missed the single-mindedness of Jesus at that moment. Caravaggio didn’t miss that fact! He beautifully portrayed the scene described in Mathew Chapter 26 in his painting.

Sometimes it can feel that evil has the upper hand in this world. If you watch the evening news it can be easy to forget that good will overcome evil. You may be under persecution right now from family, friends, or evildoers and may be losing hope. The good news is there is hope. Take a minute to look how Jesus reacted when he was attacked.

According to Caravaggio’s vision of that day, Jesus held his hands together. Jesus knew who was ultimately in charge of the immediate scene. The painting “The Taking of Christ” is a great reminder for us today:

When we are under attack it’s time to pray and let God take control on the scene.

If you are a follower of Jesus, you can take great comfort is his sacrifice. You can learn from his example when he was unfairly attacked, accused, and punished. It’s time for you to “look again” at the example of Jesus.

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Join Me at Park Church

If you enjoyed this post then you will really enjoy the six-week sermon series that just started today. There are five more messages in the series and I hope you will be compelled to hear them. Park Church has two services every Sunday and there are three services schedule for Easter Sunday.

For more information visit: http://www.parkchurchnj.com or call 732.530.7737