Easter 2011 – Now & Forevermore

Easter is like the Super Bowl for pastors because it’s oftentimes the most attended church day of the year which presents the greatest opportunity to reel people into the Kingdom. This held true for RockChurch Sunday as we had record crowds in both services which combined for our biggest day ever! Almost 700 (662) showed up to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and numerous people committed or recommitted their lives to Christ! I know I sound like a broken record but THIS is what it’s all about. You know it’s coming… BOOM!

The services began with this video followed by RCBand leading us in Loving, Forgiving, Saving (Lp original) and Glory to God Forever (Fee). Then our children’s pastor Chad Ingham joined RCBand on stage to lead us in the Third Day song Children of God. By the end of the song the stage was filled with singing SkyQuest & JungleQuest kids waving their cut-out paper hands. They continued leading the way with Now & Forevermore (Lp original and soon to be released for your downloading pleasure). By the end of Now & Forevermore a section of the back of the stage was completely filled with the cut-out paper hands in the shape of a sunset. The lights went out and black lights revealed the full shape and glow of the sunset.

Let me share a portion of the lyrics (penned from Psalm 113, arranged by Lp) for Now & Forevmore to help you grasp the “sunset of hands.”

“From the rising of the sun to the going down
The name of the Lord shall be praised…now and forevermore.

We showed a video teaser for our next series (Wonderment) which begins Sunday.

I kicked off my message with the following video entitled Follow.

Here’s my sermon outline and take-away:

3 Gardens

1. Garden of Eden

  • In the first garden God spoke, the devil deceived, and man bought the lie.
  • Enter humanism.
  • Enter sin.
  • Enter plan for salvation.

Genesis 3:15 (NLT)
And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike (bruise, crush, grind to powder) your head, and you will strike his heel.”

2. Garden of Gethsemene

  • Matthew 26:36-45 (NLT)
  • “The Lord faced His Father… in a garden. In that Garden He gained the central ingredient necessary to triumph over crucifixion.” ~Gene Edwards
  • Obedience. Jesus yielded to His Father.

1 Corinthians 2:2 (NLT)
For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified.

3. Garden of Empty Tomb

  • John 20:1-18 (NLT)
  • Note that verse 15 says that Mary thought Jesus was the gardener. Interesting. 
  • First garden = disobedience
  • Second garden = obedience
  • Third garden = triumph

1 Corinthians 15:14 (NLT)
And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless.

If Jesus is dead, Christianity is worthless.

1 Corinthians 15:3-8 (NLT)
They all saw the same thing…Jesus alive.
 
IF JESUS IS DEAD, THEN HOW COME?
(Taken from Mark Driscoll)
 
1. The disciples had a total transformation of character.

  • Before the resurrection, they were cowards.

2. What would be the motive to cover up a lie?

  • Did they get fame, glory, money?  No.  They got murdered.

3. You have to explain the alteration of the day of worship.

  • If Jesus didn’t rise, why did everybody start worshipping on Sunday?

4. His tomb was not enshrined.

  • When someone dies we visit their grave site to memorialize them.
  • People still leave gifts, light candles, etc…. but Jesus’ tomb is empty.

5. How do you explain the growth of Christianity without the resurrection of Jesus? 

  • It started out in a room with 120 people.
  • By the reign of the emperor Constantine in about the 4th Century Christianity had become the most popular religion on the earth and had overtaken the Roman Empire. (And it’s still going!)

I ended the message by showing this powerful video of Louie Giglio talking about “Laminin.”

After the altar call we closed the service by taking Communion together.

All-in-all it was an absolutely amazing day and it would not have happened without our faithful staff, leadership, creative team, and volunteers. You guys hit the ball out of the park! Thank you. It’s an honor to serve alongside of you at RockChurch.

Jesus is Alive.

Now and Forevermore,

~PC

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