People don’t call me with good news. They rarely call when their marriage is going great or when they get a promotion. I never get the phone call, “My life is just so great, I had to tell someone.”
When my phone rings, someone is in trouble. It’s the nature of ministry.
And if you survive in ministry, you develop a certain knack for it. There are skills that you can learn; but more than that, what you believe about the gospel you preach is regularly tested in the laboratory of real life. And for me, this is where the Resurrection makes the most difference.
Christians talk a lot about eternity and living forever, but to be honest, most of us think we will handle heaven when we get there. The real challenge is how to get to next Thursday. And this is where the Resurrection matters.
God raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus has conquered death and every expression of death. This means that no matter what happens to us, no matter what we do, God can still pull something good out of our messes. There is never a moment when I will say to someone, “I’m sorry. I just don’t think Jesus can help you.”
• I believe Jesus can take a messed up childhood and redeem it to form a compassionate adult.
• I believe Jesus can take a dying marriage and call it back to a life of passion and love.
• I believe Jesus can take all of the mistakes you have made and work them into a story so powerful that people who hear it will want to know if Jesus can do something with their lives.
Yes, I am optimistic, but I am not optimistic because I think our world is getting better.
I am hopeful about the future because I am confident in Jesus. He conquered death. He can handle anything you and I bring to Him.
Yesterday in the sermon, I told a story about going to a baseball game with my boys. When the score got out of hand, I wanted to go. For me, the game was over.
“But Dad,” the twins insisted, “It ain’t over -over.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat with someone and heard them say, “It’s over.” And I will answer, “It ain’t over-over.”
This coming Sunday is Easter. It’s the Sunday we celebrate the day everything changed. Jesus defeated death on death’s own terms, and we shout to a broken world, “Hey, it ain’t over-over.”