Monthly Archives: April 2011

Easter 2011 in Review

Easter Egg HuntWhat an incredible Easter Weekend! I was reflecting on all of the hours of logistics that went into this past weekend and was amazed at the sheer volume of volunteers and man-hours invested. Renee and I would like to say Thank You to everyone who volunteered during our Easter Weekend!
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On Saturday, we had 200+ volunteers in our California Blue Life Church Shirts dispersed around our campus as we hosted over 1,600 people in Midlothian’s Largest Easter Egg Hunt with 30,000 candy-filled eggs and tons of prizes.  You help make that happen!

On Sunday, we had ordered 100 folding chairs for our Sunrise Service and we had 207 people show up – I think we learned a valuable lesson for next year! The Bauman family had come prepared to feed 60 people (because that is what I told them), in an amazing effort they fed 200 people.

Our total Sunday attendance was 692 people in three services – as I got home and started reflecting – Life Church began five years ago with 10% of this year’s Easter attendance.  This has been such an incredible journey and you helped make it possible.  Thank you for the investment of your life!

Seven Words From The Cross (Part 4) by Jason Exley

As Jesus hung on that Cross almost two thousand years ago, he made seven great statements, treasured by believers as the Seven Words from the Cross. Today we finish up our look  at the Seven Words From the Cross:

THE SIXTH WORD – 

“It is finished” (John 19:30)

This Sixth Word from the Cross consists of one single word in the Greek – “Finished, accomplished.” It was a loud cry that rang out over the the scene. What did Jesus mean? What was finished? Was he referring to his sufferings or his life’s work? Certainly it was those things, but even more. It was the end of an era. The Old Testament contains a long list of prophetic utterances, beginning with the first family of mankind, when God told the serpent in the Garden of Eden that he would “put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head and you will strike his heel” (Gen 3:15). It was this great conquest that was being enacted. Jesus’ cry was proclaiming his victory over the evil one. In the gigantic struggle between good and evil the Son of Man had suffered grievously but he had finished the work of redemption that his Father had committed to him.It was a shout of victory over sin, death and hell.

THE SEVENTH WORD “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46)

The First Word from the Cross begins with Jesus addressing His Father – “Father forgive” and now it begins the last. God, the Father, had accepted the sin offering made by Jesus, as would soon be demonstrated by his resurrection from the dead. Jesus had come from his Father and to his Father he would return, but first he had to die physically. And so it was that Jesus consciously gave his life. He laid it upon the altar, just as the burnt offering of the Old Testament which had spoken of the greater sacrifice to come.

Allow these wonderful Words of Jesus from the Cross to speak to you:


“Father, forgive them” – there’s forgiveness for you at the Cross.


“Today, you will be with me” – there’s salvation for you at the Cross.


“Woman, here is your son” – there’s love for you at the Cross.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” – there’s atonement for you at the Cross.

“I thirst” – Jesus suffered for you at the Cross.

“It is finished” – Jesus was the victor over sin for you at the Cross.

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” – there’s security for you at the Cross.

Easter Prayer for Pastors

Pastor,

This year God has given me a passion to lead leaders – pastors in our community and like-minded pastors across America who desire to see God do something new in their cities. My family and I are finishing up from a busy Saturday at our church’s Easter Egg Hunt and we’re now getting ready to lead our leaders and worship team in Prayer for our Easter Services.

I know many of you have had a full day putting the finishing touches on your Easter  message.  This is a great time to lift up a clear message of the reality and relevance of Christ in our world today.  My prayers for you this Easter is for a special anointing and a great harvest!

Tomorrow, I’ll be up at 5AM and I will be praying for many of you by name. My prayer will be simple: On your behalf, I’m going to ask God to honor all the hard work you and team have invested in this special day by allowing you to have the largest attendance in your history. As you preach, I’m believing that the Holy Spirit will convict hearts and change lives. My prayer is that people will respond to your call for salvation as never before.

I believe God will answer this prayer!  I’m excited because He is going to do great things in your church’s life this Easter!

As the dust settles and the excitement of the big day subsides, please send me a quick email telling me of the great things that God has done in your House.  I can’t wait to hear the news.

Cheering you on!
Jason Exley

An Easter Invitation

Voices of the Cross Easter SeriesRecently I was talking with someone from Life Church who was telling me about all the people that they have invited to join them in service at on Easter Sunday and how they were telling people to come ready for an Amazing Service! WOW!!! What a great invitation! It made me ask “self, who are you inviting?” Sometimes I can get lost in the details that I miss my own part in the process.

I know the staff at Life Church has been working and thinking about my message for weeks, creating a unique and atmosphere from start to finish. We have special live artist coming in to paint a portrait of Christ, amazing kid’s activities planned, some cool new stage lights to add to the dynamics of an engaging atmosphere in worship.  It could very well be the best Easter at Life Church ever! 

We all know people who need a fresh dose of the message of Easter. People who have given up on God. Who have given up on themselves and life. People who are frustrated or disenfranchised with church. People who haven’t been apart of  life giving Easter experience. We even know people who love checking new things out. I am going to invite people to join me at church this Easter, how about you?

Who are you going to invite?

When we invite people to Life Church something changes for us. We take ownership in a new way over our church. We become more spiritually in tune to others needs over our own. We Live out the great commission by exposing others to the message of Jesus.

Here is how we invite people at Life Church!

  1. Take time to Pray for the person before you invite them.
  2. Do an act of kindness for the family before you invite them.
  3. Ask them to come in a normal non manipulative or pushy way. (remember people are excited about what you are excited about. Its why they like you.)
  4. Don’t forget to get to church early to help them feel comfortable and find their way around.

Three Great Easter Services!

Our Easter Series “Voices of the Cross” comes to a climatic close on Easter Sunday as we listen to one more voice around the cross … what did they say … what does it mean? Don’t miss the conclusion of “Voices of the Cross”! This Easter we are planning Three Services at Life Church.  Consider which one of these services you want to invite someone to join you at:

  1. 7:00AM – SUNRISE SERVICE! Join us out on the hill for a Sunrise Service with a scene of the empty tomb and the cross in our background on the hill. This will be a special family-style hour-long service with worship, Easter Message and communion.  We will end with a pancake breakfast together.
  2. 9:00AM – Our normal kids programming begins with Sprouts, Zone6.12 and Fifty6 during this service.  With dynamic worship, Easter Message, Live painting of Christ and communion.  Come early and enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast buffet.
  3. 11:00AM – Our normal kids programming continues with Sprouts, Zone6.12 during this service.  With dynamic worship, Easter Message, Live painting of Christ and communion.  Come early and enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast buffet.

Seven Words From The Cross (Part 3) by Jason Exley

Seven Words From The Cross (Part 3) by Jason Exley

As Jesus hung on that Cross almost two thousand years ago, he made seven great statements, treasured by believers as the Seven Words from the Cross. They cover the basic needs of mankind. Over the next four weeks we will look at the Seven Words From the Cross:

THE FOURTH WORD “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” (Matt. 27:46).

There is a depth of feeling in this cry from the heart, made with an intensity matched only by the darkness that had draped itself over the terrible spectacle. All the sin of the world, the awful legacy of the fall of mankind was laid upon Jesus. “He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21).

Now at the climax of his passion, at the moment of making atonement for our sin it was necessary that even his Father should stand aside. Just as a scapegoat of the Old Testament had to be banished into the wilderness, so Jesus had to bear the sin of the world alone – literally. God forsaken. He who was made sin for us was feeling the punishment of the sinner, being separated from God. This Word from the Cross points us to the cost of the atonement made. Thank God, there’s atonement for sin at the Cross by the Lord Jesus.

THE FIFTH WORD “I thirst” (John 19:28).

The hours of torture on the Cross took a tremendous toll on the body of Jesus. Execution by crucifixion was not a sudden death like being shot by a firing squad. It was a long drawn out, lingering death. His wounded hands and feet would be quickly inflamed, resulting in a fever of thirst and his body would soon be dehydrated. The prophetic 22nd Psalm which anticipated our Lord’s passion speaks graphically of his condition, “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth” (14,15).

Jesus had earlier refused to drink a drugged wine designed to alleviate to some extent the intensity of the coming suffering, but now his mission almost complete his cry of thirst could be met from a sponge dipped in wine vinegar. In fact it was necessary that his lips should be moistened because he had yet two momentous Words to utter. There was a Scripture still to be fulfilled. Psalm 69:21 had predicted that the Suffering Servant of Israel would say “They … gave me vinegar for my thirst.” Jesus knew that for him to do his Father’s will required him to fulfill all that had been prophesied of the Messiah down the ages. This Fifth Word from the Cross serves to tell us that there is suffering in the Cross.

To Be Continued…

Seven Words From The Cross (Part 2) by Jason Exley

As Jesus hung on that Cross almost two thousand years ago, he made seven great statements, treasured by believers as the Seven Words from the Cross. They cover the basic needs of mankind. Over the next four weeks we will look at the Seven Words From the Cross:

THE SECOND WORD “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

If the First Word embraced all mankind within the scope of the dreadful act of crucifying Jesus and the potential of forgiveness through his prayer, then the Second Word narrows its focus to one single needy sinner. God not only sees the whole world but he sees it made up of individuals. On that fateful day in the history of the world, it happened that there were two thieves who were crucified alongside Jesus. This fact isn’t just recorded to round up the story, but as a piece of evidence that what was happening was part of God’s plan of salvation. It was conceived before the world existed and revealed through God’s messengers, centuries before. The particular prophecy that was being fulfilled is recorded in Isaiah 53 where the prophet declared that the coming Suffering Servant of the Lord was he who “was numbered with the transgressors” (53:12).

 

No man is beyond hope of redemption in whose soul still lingers some fear of God. And as he spoke, faith rose in his soul and he blurted out his appeal, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” It was a plea that did not fall on deaf ears. The response was immediate, “Truly, I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” The word “Paradise” is a Persian word meaning “a walled garden”. When a Persian king wished to do one of his subjects a very special honor he made him a “companion of the garden” and he was chosen to walk in the royal garden with the king. It was more than immortality that Jesus promised the penitent thief. He promised the honored place of a companion of the garden in the courts of heaven. “You will be with me” said Jesus. There’s salvation in the Cross.

 

THE THIRD WORD “Jesus said to his mother, ’Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple ’Here is your mother’” (John 19:26,27).

The Second Word from the Cross spoke of salvation to the sinner, but the Third Word introduces us to the wider implications of this great salvation. It sparks a relationship of love. A psychologist once said, “there are two things that men want: power and love.” At the very heart of all our wanting is the love that Jesus gave us on the Cross.

This Third Word from the Cross also reveals the relationship of Jesus with his disciple John. It didn’t require a long explanation for John to know what was meant. We read that from that hour John took Mary into his own home. This Word tells us that there’s love for you in the Cross, and it’s a love which having been received, is to be shared with others.

To Be Continued…

Seven Words From The Cross by Jason Exley

As Jesus hung on that Cross almost two thousand years ago, he made seven great statements, treasured by believers as the Seven Words from the Cross. They cover the basic needs of mankind. Over the next four weeks we will look at the Seven Words From the Cross:

THE FIRST WORD 

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34)

Forgive them” said Jesus. Who, I wonder, was Jesus referring to? There were many groups of people around the Cross. Closest to him would have been the execution party, soldiers of the Roman garrison. But, there were also

 other groups: the teachers who hated him, the priests who bought him with silver, the traitor who sold him out, the crowd who had cried “crucify him”, and in the distance was Pilate  trying to salve his conscience by blaming somebody else. But I like to think that Jesus was encompassing a wider body of people than those I have mentioned: there was the band of disciples who had been his constant companions for nearly three years. Had they lifted a finger to prevent this act of barbarism?  But as Jesus endured the torture of crucifixion, they failed to make even a token protest against the terrible atrocity being committed.

What does this tell us? All these groups either actively or passively helped to crucify Jesus – they were all guilty, but in a very real sense they are only representatives of a wider number of those responsible for crucifying Jesus, because the message of the Bible is that it was the sin of the world which crucified Jesus. The gospel writers simply wrote “They crucified Jesus”. Who crucified him? I’ll tell you who crucified him. I did – and you did – every one of us is equally guilty.

The wonder of this Word From The Cross is that there is forgiveness. Forgiveness for the disciples who betrayed Jesus. Forgiveness for the evil ones who drove Him to the Cross. Forgiveness for the soldiers who nailed him to the tree. Forgiveness for the bitter hearts of his religious enemies. Forgiveness for every person who has ever sinned or made a mistake. Forgiveness for you and for me. Thank God, there is forgiveness but it is a forgiveness that requires to be taken individually, to be drawn on in the way that God has planned. Years later, one of the disciples, John, restated this truth when he wrote, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).

To Be Continued…