“Every morning is Easter Morning” (by Avery & Marsh) is a song that proclaims the gospel like no other. It's sings out the reality that Easter is now every day. Death is no more.
This is the Good News that Jesus proclaims (Mk 1:15): “The Kingdom/ Realm of God has come near”. Take notice! Trust and believe this Good News!...
This is the very core definition of Gospel, the Good News of God.
Unfortunately, we’ve overlooked it's revolutionary impact and life changing potential for decades.
Paul proclaims that “Our citizenship is in Heaven” (Phil 3:20) and that Christ is with us always!
We assume that in our prayers, our worship, and our daily living. We speak of Christ with us often. Yet we rarely talk about being "Citizens of Heaven" or rarely struggle with what it really means. We don't remind each other or encourage each other about it.
Let’s say it upfront: “Christ is with us” means that God’s heavenly realm has been brought into the world and our lives.
And while the fullness of heaven awaits us at some time in the future, God is already doing heavenly work in us, those around us and in the whole world.
God is actively transforming us and all of creation right before our eyes.
And we are invited to live today in this “porch of heaven” even before we die. That is the holy and sanctified (saved) life that is available to everyone!
Even in the midst of all the struggles of earthly living, we can live with God, Christ and the Holy Spirit right now and so live a life that grows in the “Sanctification” that John Wesley described so eloquently.
So why don’t we?
Why is there an Easter “let down” rather than an eternal High? Why do we pack up Easter quicker than we pack up Christmas?
Perhaps it’s because we have become used to celebrating “holy-days/holidays” as brief respites from the burdens of living in a tragic, greed-filled, self-centered world.
We’ve been trained to feed on the despair of life, the pain and anxieties rather than live the joy and beauty of life of a spirit-filled existence.
We have become alone and isolated in our own opinions and thoughts, rather than the joy of a covenant community working together to expand the loving realm of God in Christ into ever more rich relationships and ever more powerful spiritual awakenings and actions.
This Easter, as we come out from the Covid cloud on our lives, we have an opportunity to dedicate Eastertide (the Fifty days from Easter to Pentecost) to a unique and life changing time of renewal and re-understanding of heaven and the power of local church.
This Eastertide can become a time of recognizing the Kingdom/realm of Heaven(God) as actively breaking into the world and exploring our “citizenship in Heaven.”
(And here's a bonus: Most people are willing to talk about Heaven and Heavenly things. Just ask them!)
There are 3 major parts to this opportunity:
• Sermons and Sermon Reflection Groups on the relationship between Easter/Resurrection and the expanding kingdom/realm of God (Heaven).
• Worship to reclaim the sense of a “Holy Sanctuary” as an experience of heaven rather than a “worship center” that mimics theaters and concerts.
• New and Re-newed Small Groups, the powerhouse of 1st century Christianity and updated by John Wesley, blooming and growing around the church.
(This includes training leaders to lead and multiply these small groups into the communities around every local church.)
In addition, you can also explore:
• Reviewing your Admin structure to reduce and focus the leadership “overhead” of your church and release more leaders for mission and ministry.
• Evaluating the entire Local Church Calendar for activities that encourage Discipleship or that merely provide secular fellowship and comfort.
These components are perfect for your current leaders, potential leaders, and even new, enthusiastic participants in your congregation. They are all geared to rebuild your local congregation after the dislocating social distancing we’ve all been through.
Let's make THIS Easter and Eastertide last through the following Sundays to Pentecost, and perhaps, even beyond!
Information on all of these and more are found on the Agapé Journeys website at www.agapejourneys.com.