Robert (not his real name) showed up to our Palm Sunday service. He actually showed up after it was over, he had been walking on the Thompson Creek Trail and noticed the people gathered, heard the music, and came by to see what was happening. Katrina noticed him and went over and introduced herself to him. I came over and talked for a bit. Robert said a few times that he hadn’t been to church in a long time… like decades long time. Katrina and I both invited him to come back the next week for the Easter service.
Kyle thought that it would be important this year to make sure our congregation had a focus towards reaching the lost, so we wrote this to go with the Easter services email:
This year, maybe more than any other, we need to experience the joy, peace, and hope of Easter. We hope you will join us either in person or online. Think about a friend or family member who needs some encouragement this Easter and forward this email or share the link to our YouTube page… God might just be up to something amazing.
As Ken, Kyle, Mark, and I gathered to plan the Easter services, this reminder that there will probably be people in attendance who don’t know Jesus as their Savior helped shape the services. Of course, we wanted to celebrate the risen Jesus through worship, and we wanted to tell the amazing story of Jesus overcoming death, but most of all we wanted to share the Easter message in a way that gave people the opportunity to respond in faith.
The 10:00 AM Easter morning service was glorious. The weather was beautiful. Around a hundred people gathered on the lawn – wearing masks and carrying their own chairs – and Robert was one of them. He sat by himself but engaged with people during the socially distanced meet and greet. He struggled through the songs not knowing the words or tunes. He listened intently to the message of God being able to roll away the stone from any “tomb” we might find ourselves in… able to walk through any “locked doors” we might hide behind.
For the benediction, I completed the resurrection story with Thomas. You might remember that Thomas wasn’t with the rest of the disciples when Jesus appeared on the first night. They told him they had seen the Lord, but he said he would never believe unless he saw the nail marks in Jesus’ hands himself. A week later, Jesus appears again to the disciples gathered in a locked room. This time Thomas is in the room and Jesus turns his attention to him.
Jesus says to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
On Easter, I said that being a Christian ultimately means responding to Jesus as Thomas did… saying, “Jesus you are my Lord and my God… I believe you are the Son of God, you died for my sin so that I might experience new life. I want you to be Lord of my life and teach me how to live this new life with God the Father.” This is a prayer we can pray to Jesus anytime. Sometime in the midst of that Easter service, Robert opened up his heart to Jesus.
When the service was over, he made a beeline to Kyle and shared with him what had happened; Kyle prayed with him. I joined the conversation and we exchanged phone numbers. Kyle gave Robert a Bible. Robert left that Easter service looking the same on the outside but eternally changed on the inside.
I texted Robert yesterday, he got back to me right away, and we’re meeting later on this week. I look forward to hearing his story, getting to know him, and seeing how we as a church can help him experience what it means to walk with Jesus in this new life. I love how so many different factors and people worked together to help one person come to faith in Christ. I was reminded again why the Church exists at all…
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” – Luke 19:10
Who do you know who needs to experience the life-changing power of Jesus in their life?
What is the next step to help them meet Jesus?
Why not do that today?