At Easter we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, that he is “Alive”, a message that convinced even Thomas, John 20:24-31. Join us Saturday, April 19, at 5:00 p.m. at College Church’s South Wheaton Campus, and Sunday, April 20, at 6:30 (Sunrise Service), 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00 a.m. at the Wheaton Campus. Watch the video (below) and invite friends if you are in the area.
Last words are important. They ring in our ears and we ponder their significance. On Saturday, I bent down to kiss my mother good-bye, knowing that this would probably be the last time I would see her on this earth. I gave her an extra long hug. Her weary 93-year-old eyes looked up at me, and she said what she always said to me when I would leave to drive back to Wheaton, “Get home safe.”
Mom spent her last days in hospice at the Comfort House in Pella, Iowa. During her last day on earth, I sat by her bedside and read Scripture and softly sang some of her favorite hymns. Hospice is a place where people die. How can it be a place of comfort? But it was because God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, was there. Mom died in the room called, LOVE, which had the words of Ephesians 3:18-19 inscribed over the door. “May you have power, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.” The love of Christ enveloped her in those last days. http://www.coburnfuneralhomes.com/obituary/124104/Winifred-Soetenga-of-Monroe-Iowa/
This week on Good Friday we will ponder the love of Christ. Jesus spent His last hours on the cross. His final words were “It is finished.” A statement of resignation to the inevitable? Hardly. A cry of victory! His work was complete. “Only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.” (Hebrews 2:14-15; Isa. 53:6 NLT) No wonder the Apostle Paul says that this love is beyond comprehension.
But the story doesn’t end there. Easter reminds us that death did not have the last word. Jesus was raised to eternal life, the firstborn from the dead. Because He lives, we who believe in Him, will be granted eternal life as well. “The one who believes in Jesus will live, even though they die.” (John 11:25) Jesus came to provide a way for us to go home to God the Father where there will be no more sin, sadness, sickness or death.
This Easter, “Get Home Safe.”
Consider joining us for our Easter Week Services:
Good Friday, April 18: 6:00 & 8:00 p.m.
Easter Saturday, April 19: 5 p.m. at the South Wheaton Campus, Edison Middle School
Easter Sunday, April 20: 6:30, 8:00, 9:30 and 11:00 a.m.
This weekend – Saturday, April 12 at 5:00 p.m. at our South Wheaton Campus (located at Edison Middle School, 1125 S. Wheaton Ave. in Wheaton) and Sunday, April 13 at 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00 a.m. at our Wheaton Campus – I’ll be preaching from Romans 2:17-24 in our series “The Gospel of God” with a message entitled “Boasting in God.” We will also be celebrating Palm Sunday.
Watch a video preview:
The Workshop on Biblical Exposition at College Church is coming next month, May 7-9, 2014. Our theme this year is “The Pattern and the Pulpit: Exposition, Systematics, and Practice.”
Below is a video invitation that will give you more information about the workshop. Consider sharing this with friends and inviting others to attend. It will be a great time of fellowship as we gather for expositional preaching, instruction, and small group practice. Click here to learn more and register.
The following article was written for Evangelicals Now and published in their news publication for March 2014. In it I interview Dr. Dennis Hollinger, president of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary:
DH: I love the fact that Gordon-Conwell reflects a thoughtful evangelicalism as it educates over 2,100 men and women from more than 90 different denominations and 60 different countries. Its vision: ‘We seek to advance Christ’s Kingdom in every sphere of life by equipping Church leaders to think theo-logically, engage globally and live biblically’.
JM: What are your key opportunities?
DH: Three opportunities stand out. First, to help build the church around the globe as we train leaders of leaders from many countries, including China. Second, we are serving the most theologically under-served group in North America with our Hispanic Ministries Program. We take courses to key Hispanic population centers and then have them come to our main campus for short-term intensive classes. Hispanics are our fastest growing group (now 16% of the US population), but constitute a very small percentage of seminary students. Third, we have developed a significant centre and programme in Workplace Theology and Business Ethics. This enables us not only to offer courses and conferences for Christians in the marketplace, but to help future pastors understand the contexts where most of their parishioners spend the bulk of their lives.
JM: What are the seminary’s challenges?
DH: Like most seminaries, the biggest challenge we face is funding our ministry adequately. The economic models for theological education of the past have not worked well in the 21st century. But, more significantly, one of the greatest challenges we face is developing church leaders who are wise, godly, understand the cultural context, but are deeply rooted in the gospel and Scripture.
JM: How can EN readers pray?
DH: Pray that God will keep us faithful to the gospel and the Word. Pray that God will raise up young people with a deep passion for ministry. Pray that our faculty will be able to minister not just to the minds of our students, but also to their hearts.
This weekend – Saturday, April 5 at 5:00 p.m. at our South Wheaton Campus (located at Edison Middle School, 1125 S. Wheaton Ave. in Wheaton) and Sunday, April 6 at 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00 a.m. at our Wheaton Campus – I’ll be preaching from Romans 2:12-16 in our series “The Gospel of God” with a message entitled “The Unexpected Gospel.” Watch a video preview: