Isaiah 53:5-6 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Easter Always Takes Me Back to the Cross
I had a pretty tough week last week. But I should have known it was coming because we had such a powerful move of God in our services. You can not strike into the very heart of darkness and not expect to pay a high price. On Monday by God’s grace I got what I had been praying for but it didn’t come without a bit of pain. However it is pain I willingly endure to live the life God has called me to live and it pales in comparison to knowing Jesus and living out His divine call on my life.
Right now I have one focus and that is Easter. Easter always takes me back to the cross. It takes me back to when Jesus first found me. It reminds me the life I live is by the grace of God. It inspires me to see others experience the freedom I enjoy every day as a Christ follower. I am no longer a slave to sin and my body is no longer sin’s sanctuary. I am a slave to righteousness and a child of God by my faith in the work that Jesus Christ accomplished for me through His life, death, burial, and resurrection. My body is now a temple for God. Today I was doing some spring cleaning, pressure washing, house scrubbing, and gutter cleaning. I got to thinking this is hard work. I looked at the task and it seemed overwhelming. I must admit for a minute I thought it was too hard and that I didn’t have it in me. Just then God gave me a sermon illustration or a blog illustration concerning my lives and tens of thousands in this city. So many people say, “I have to get cleaned up before I can come to church.” But the task is too great for them and they feel overwhelmed so they stay lost, broken, hurting, and alone. We must let them know that the hard work of getting cleaned up has been done for them by Jesus Christ. I started reflecting on the past 20 years of my life and realized through Jesus I am justified before a holy God. The cross of Christ is where the justice of God met the grace of God and God’s wrath against me was satisfied. At that moment the Holy Spirit of God came to live in me. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead now lives in me and by that Spirit I am being sanctified. He began the process of sanctification which looked a lot like my house cleaning project. There were stains and dark spots all over the place. There were spider’s webs, bugs, and gutters full of debris. It was going to take some doing to get the house looking good after a long winter allowing the leaves to pile up and the dirt to gather. I had spent 6-7 years trapped in addiction abusing my body, mind, and spirit. As you can see in the picture above. Just look into those empty, broken eyes. There was a lot of pain, hurt, hopelessness, helplessness, anger, fear, addiction, disease, and a whole lot more. The task sure looked daunting to a lot of people who had given up on me but Jesus didn’t! He saw my life dirty, stained, broken, and run down life and willingly endured the cross for me. The Holy Spirit happily took up residence in my heart and treated me like I was a mansion not a run down shack in disrepair. I thought to myself where would I be without Jesus? Then I thought of the song, “Where would I be you only know. I glad you see through eyes of love. A hopeless case an empty place of not for grace.” I am happy to report that the house is looking mighty spiffy this afternoon it still needs some TLC but who doesn’t? I am also happy to report to you that by the grace of God my life, future, and destiny look nothing like the hopeless kid’s you see in the future above. No, no God had greater things planned for that kid. He just didn’t know it. There are 300,000 people that live in this city walking around like that kid in the picture. Many have been given up on and many have given up but Sunday is coming! You see God called a church called City on a Hill Church to light their way home. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl! God placed us in this city to be a light and now I use my story for His glory along with a couple hundred others that He has gathered to be a city within a city. We are called to be a city within a city reaching our city with the life changing message of Jesus Christ one life at a time. We don’t look at the job and think it is too big or too messy no we jump in with both feet and get working Loving God, Loving People, and Preaching Jesus. There are thousands walking these city streets in need of divine appointment with Jesus that will change their destiny forever. Easter Sunday morning at sunrise we will have a baptism at North Gandy Beach. My eyes fill with tears even now as I write this blog in gratitude to an amazing God who trusts me to share His Gospel with the world. I went from dealing dope to dealing hope to the glory of God. We already have over 20 folks whose destinies have been changed ready to follow the Lord Jesus in baptism. At sunrise we will celebrate the Jesus the Son rose and offers us new life. Directly following our baptism we will have two services at 9 and 10:45 am my prayer is that our church will be filled to capacity with lost and wanderers finding their way back to Jesus. I continue to pray for 1000 souls, new converts daily. I call on God for the lost to be found and the wanderer to find their way home every day. It is happening! Every week we see lost people found and wanderers find their way back to safe pasture. I keep the picture that you see above in my day timer so that I never forget where I come from or where I am going because of Jesus. I keep it there so that I remind myself daily I will never lock eyes with someone who doesn’t matter to God. I keep it there to remind myself God is still working on me. I hope this blog will challenge you to take a few minutes today and reflect back on when God found you and the life you now live by God’s grace and your faith in His Son Jesus. My prayer for you is that you won’t look at your house and think there is too much to be done but instead you will trust in the Holy Spirit to do all the repairs in His time. My prayer is also that you wouldn’t look at someone else’s house that is in disrepair and give up on them. Remember nothing is impossible with God! Let’s do some spring cleaning together to the glory of God!