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Monday, April 8, 2013

Looking back at Easter: An opportunity for EHK

It may seem a bit odd to write a post about Easter a week or so after it's gone by, right?  Perhaps.  Honestly, the inspiration didn't hit me until late Easter Sunday afternoon, after most of it was done that I was able to look back and see the immense value Easter weekend has.  So consider it my musings on Easter after the fact.

Let's get the obvious stuff out first.  Easter, Resurrection Sunday, is, by far, the most important event in human history.  Some may say the creation of man should be and I'd agree it's important.  I mean, if God didn't create us, we wouldn't be here right?  Pretty important, true.  But what would be even more important than being created?  It'd be given a way to come face to face and meet your creator, God.  To be able to meet the one who lovingly made you.  Some may say that Jesus' birth is the most important.  True, if he was never born, he couldn't have done what he did.  It IS important.  But I look at it from a football angle:  What's more important to a fan:  Their team signing the best quarterback in the league or that quarterback leading them to a Super Bowl win?  Any fan will say the latter.  Signing the quarterback is the potential for great things.  Winning, on the other hand, is achieving those great things.  So Jesus' birth gave the potential for great things.  But, it wasn't until Resurrection Sunday that he had completed all of them.  This is why I believe Easter is the most important day of all.

And it's because of that profound importance that this day, nearly 2,000 years later still has monumental impact on the world.  And as Christians, we'd be amiss to let this day slip by with just a ho-hum Standard Easter Service and heaping platefuls of food (and candy, of course).  Not that the latter two are bad (particularly the platefuls of food), but I just believe it's not utilizing the day to its full potential, because this is a day like none other where we can advance EHK (Extending His Kingdom), the one mandate God gave to us.

As I had discussed recently about the dangers of intellectualism, particularly intellectual pride, it seems all too easy for regular, devout church going Christians to adopt a pharisaical attitude toward those people that only go to church on Easter.  It'd be all too easy to regard these people with scorn with remarks like "they think going to church once a year on Easter makes them a Christian?" or "Why even bother to show up if they don't take being a Christian seriously anyway?"  And while yes, while there may be people like that who go only go to church on Easter and/or Christmas, it's this type of attitude that contributes to those people continuing to only come once or twice a year or not at all.

There's two big mistakes born out of this type of pride.  First, we're assuming these people are completely ignorant of what it takes to walk in Christ.  That they really believe just going once a year is "enough".  I'd venture to say that most adults who attend church annually are at least somewhat aware that their token appearance at church isn't what Christ had in mind for walking with Him.  That, or they're simply aware that their token appearance is just a token appearance and nothing more.

Second, regarding these people with scorn is just about the exact opposite of what we should be doing.  Sure, perhaps you're nice to them, but if you hold scorn in your heart then are you honestly welcoming them into the church?  On top of that, visitors are already aware of their visitor/outsider status, so they're most likely hyper sensitive to how regular members of the church act toward them which includes picking up on the people throwing out the shallow "just being nice" responses.

One of the best ways to forward EHK is getting people into church.  Let them see.  Let the Holy Spirit work in them.  Have a seed planted.  Most churches continually work on bringing in more people.  And while some can be successful at this, the Lord has already provided a day (or two) that draws in more people than any of our own efforts could.  But, if we hold scorn in our hears toward the newcomers or just go through some go-through-the-motions uinspired service, we're wasting the golden opportunity to Extend His Kingdom that he's given us.  We should be glad these people came and be praising Him for having an opportunity to Extend His Kingdom through these visitors.

Think about it:  It's been about 2,000 years since Christ rose.  And still to this day flocks of people who don't normally go to church will go (even if it's only to make a token appearance).   That's an amazing impact .  Something we shouldn't ignore.

Resurrection Sunday should be like an Open House for a church.  A "come on in, see what we're about" where we're at our best.  If there was ever a day to give our best for our Father, it'd be the day where the chains of death were broken from our souls.  Let's even go farther than that.  Resurrection Sunday should be the end cap of a weekend where we're celebrating the most important event in human history.

If we're wanting to Extend His Kingdom, let's make the most out of the gift God has given us that day:  throngs of visitors.  And true, we might not see immediate results.  But if we're doing what God wants, we can rest assured that His will is moving forward in their lives.