Currently we are in a series called Rescue Me. I believe that the next few weeks leading up to Easter are going to be critical for the church. Not just City on a Hill Church but the church universal. Every year in March or April there is a time designated to celebrate Easter. Easter is a time recognized in this country and of around the world as a holiday where we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There’s no mistaking happy holidays for Easter instead it’s a time where most recognize the significance of Easter even though it is been highly commercialized the chocolate, Easter bunnies, jellybeans and the like. There is still an understanding that Easter is all about Jesus it’s always been about Jesus and it will always be about Jesus. Easter is also a time where so many folks are looking to go to church or to reengage in their faith. I feel such a sense of urgency over the next few weeks because I know that there is a spiritual preparation and an awareness in the hearts and lives of many in our city. It is my hope that the people of city on a Hill church and churches around the city will recognize this divine opportunity and will do everything within their power to invite and encourage folks to come out on Easter Sunday. For me Easter starts at sunrise at the baptism service. Baptism signifies the outward sign of an inward change. I love the significance of Easter sunrise baptisms. On the morning that we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ the son of God rising from the dead we get a beautiful word picture from creation as the sun rises in the east over the waters of North Gandy beach. We provide everyone being baptized with five invitations for their friends, their coworkers, neighbors and loved ones to witness their sacred moment. Receiving a personal invitation to someone’s baptism really raises the chances that people attend the baptism and attend Easter Sunday services directly following the baptism. It’s just a great way for them to feel included an important. It is equally a powerful witness to the grace of God in their lives. I believe every day God gives us divine opportunities to reach someone for the cause of Christ. We just have to be cognizant of these opportunities and we need to be willing to act when these opportunities present themselves. Studies have shown people will respond to an invitation and most of the time they respond in a positive fashion. My prayer is over the next few weeks that God will draw his nets from the North, the South, East, and the West and that he will use ordinary people like me and you to extend an invitation. When I started prep in the series Rescue Me I had lost people and wanderers in mind. I started praying months ago for Easter services and for this series because I know that is God’s desire that everyone come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. While I recognize I can’t control the decision that they make, I can control whether or not they receive the opportunity to accept or reject Jesus Christ by presenting the gospel and a life lived to the glory of God. Every Friday for the past few weeks and all the way up until Easter I will be at North Gandy beach praying over the waters and over that location. In my minds eye I can see the faces of so many precious people whose lives have been changed by God’s grace. I see their family members, friends, church family members, and neighbors standing on the shore witnessing the most significant decision that they will make in their lives. My heart grows with anticipation as the weeks get closer the intensity of my prayer increases knowing that there is a spiritual battle taking place for the souls of men, women and children in our city. We have two more weeks in the Rescue Me series and then it’s Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday kicks off Holy Week that leads us right into Easter Sunday. On Easter Sunday I’ll be sharing a message entitled The Journey of a Skeptic, we will take a look into the life of Thomas. Between now and then I know that every week is critical every Sunday, every day, every moment is critical heaven and hell, life and death hang in the balance. Jesus spoke more about heaven and hell than any other prophet in the Bible. Jesus made it very clear there are two final resting places for the soul. One is in heaven with God with Jesus as the mediator between God and man reconciling us through his life, death, burial, and resurrection. Easter is the time we celebrate Jesus us final victory over mankind’s three greatest enemies Satan, sin, and death. It is in the awfulness of the cross that we see the justice of God and the grace of God come together. Objects of wrath become objects of affection and the rightful wrath of God is satisfied through the death of Jesus on the cruel cross. The resurrection of Jesus reveals Jesus’ final victory over our final enemy which is death and he offers us eternal life. That’s option number one. Option number two is hell. If hell was not a real place, Jesus would not have spent so much of his time speaking of hell as a real option for those who deny God and rebel against. Easter is a critical time because it acts as a mirror into the souls of men. It allows us to see a loving and merciful God offer his son as the ultimate sacrifice so that we might have life. It also allows us to see that there is a hope that goes beyond this life and into the next. The hope that we have comes from faith in Jesus. It really starts by us crying out to God saying rescue me, save me! We ask God , “Do for me what I cannot do for myself.” In doing this we recognize that we are not self autonomous, we admit that we need God, we need forgiveness, we need reconciliation, we need grace. I have such a sense of urgency in my heart that even now as I sit here in this place preparing this blog my heart goes out to those spiritually lost and in need of rescue, to those wanderers who have been made prey for wild beasts. It is my sincere prayer and hope that they listen to the still small voice of God calling them. That they listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit as he leads them to safety. That they recognize there is a search party looking for them. It is equally my prayer that every Christ follower will recognize they are a point man on a search and rescue mission for their friends, family, coworkers, schoolmates, neighbors and our city. My prayer is that we will all use our story for God’s glory and I can’t think of a better time to do that than Easter Sunday. It is my prayer and hope that we will baptize 40 or 50 folks at sunrise on Easter Sunday morning. It is my prayer and hope that the shoreline will be filled with hundreds of witnesses of God’s incredible grace. If you don’t have any place to worship on Easter please consider this your invitation to worship with us at City on a Hill Church. It would be our honor and privilege to celebrate Easter with you. If you haven’t been to church in a while come on home:) Be encouraged!