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  • Easter 2018 – “Break of Dawn”

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Easter 2018 – “Break of Dawn”

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is God speaking light into our darkness, like the dawn of a new day. After the darkest dark (crucifixion), the lightest light broke forth (resurrection), ushering in a new day and a new way to experience life. Jesus brought God’s light close for us all to see and experience.


I would welcome those that are watching online and at all of our venues here on site great to have you joining us for Easter my sister lives in northern Alaska and if you've ever visited up there you know that depending upon the season you're gonna have all light or all night and right now they're entering into a season where they will experience sunrise and sunset in a two hour period and an imagine living in a place where it's always light it sounds great at first but after about a week you've done everything there is to do and you're tired because you ain't sleeping but imagine living when it's always night and how depressing that must be but what I've found is there's beauty in both light and in darkness I mean in the dark you that's when you get to see the Northern Lights right there's beauty in both and if the purpose of light is to reveal I wonder if the purpose of darkness is to reveal the light or at least to show us our need for it all of us have experienced darkness in some dimension I'm thinking about the first story that we're gonna talk about today the resurrections story and how those first followers of Jesus experienced darkness the death of a friend all their hope that they had put on to this man that he would be the one to save them from their sins they put all of this hope in him and and all of a sudden he's dead on a cross and their hopes and their dreams and everything that they they had put their trust in when the light went out and they're faced with darkness they struggled with with disbelief and it was in that place though it was in that place of darkness that light was revealed in John chapter 20 one of the first followers of Jesus John who was actually at the cross when Jesus died followed him wrote these words reflecting back on the story of that first Easter morning and this is what he writes before the Sun had risen on Sunday morning even in the context of the narrative it's in the dark he knows that as before the Sun had risen is it at night it's you know it's the coldest right before the Sun comes you guys notice that is in this moment that Mary Magdalene decided to make a trip to the tomb where Jesus body had been laid to rest and in the darkness she discovered that the covering had been rolled away and she darted out of the garden to find Simon Peter and the dearly loved disciple who's writing this that's how he describes himself john's amazing wait wait for it is gonna be even better so she darted out of the garden to find Peter and the dearly loved disciple himself to deliver this startling news and Mary says they've taken the body of our Lord and we cannot find him together the three of them they all departed for the tomb to see for themselves they begin to run and Peter could not keep up the Beloved Disciple arrived first I I just think this is so funny to me I mean I just this is after this is after some time has passed since this story happened and Peter is now a big deal when John's riding this he's kind of that you know the leader of the church and John's just want to make sure everybody knows I'm faster I couldn't run better I've just the it's so funny to me anyway I just love John I can't wait to meet the guy someday so the beginning around Peter couldn't keep up they beloved disciple arrived first but did not go in there was no corpse in the tomb only the linen and costs he was wrapped in and when Simon Peter finally arrived he went into the tomb and observed the same the cloth that covered his face appeared to have been folded carefully and placed not with the linen cloths but to the side and after Peter pointed this out the other disciple who had arrived long before Peter okay John we got it god you're faster good for you bro good for you man but after Peter pointed this out the other disciple entered also entered the tomb and listen to this and based on what he saw faith began to well up inside him before this moment none of them understood the scriptures and why Jesus must be raised from the dead they don't even remember until this moment they began to recall that even Jesus have predicted his own death and resurrection and then they all went to their homes Mary though I loved what Mary does stood outside the tomb doing what you do in the dark when all hope has faded sobbing crying and kneeling at the tomb entrance what do you do when the light goes out my boys and I my four sons and I about three years ago hiked up the South sister and it was our fourth time doing it and so we wanted to make it an epic journey so we decided to do it at night full moon and we started we hiked up the South sister we got up to the top and back down but halfway up we hit this Ridge and and we look over to our right about 30 yards off the path is a pair of eyes lit up by the moonlight that's all we can see we didn't see the body of it at all and and when you're in the dark you think the worst you make up stories that are the worst imaginable I was convinced it was a bear maybe a mountain lion but definitely not a little deer it wasn't that for sure probably that's all it was right but in the dark in that moment you you get you kind of get frantic very fearful and you wonder you know what's out there imagine the tales told by these first followers as they gathered together out of fear of what might happen to them by the same people who killed Jesus as they're talking about what they just witnessed in Jesus going to the cross imagine what they were thinking and talking about some probably were saying this is all a sham I mean we put all of our hope in this guy and he died and then there was probably others in the room they were like why maybe he's still alive you know maybe their stories in essence ended at the crucifixion what I've learned in my own life and what I think we learn in the narrative here is that darkness is often the prelude to light so Mary's sitting there outside the tomb sobbing crying and kneeling at its entrance and as she cried two heavenly messengers appeared before her sitting where Jesus is head and feet had been laid they said dear woman why are you weeping Mary said well they taken away my lord I can't find him and after uttering these words she turned around to see Jesus standing before her but she did not recognize him and she and Jesus says dear woman why are you sobbing who is it you are looking for she still had no idea who it was before or thinking he was the gardener she muttered sir if you're the one who carried him away tell me where he is so I can go and retrieve his body then Jesus says Mary Mary in that way that she would immediately recognize who he is and turning to Jesus and speaking in Hebrew she says rabona rabbi my teacher Mary Jesus says you cannot hold me I just stopped this pause there for just a second and her initial response to seeing Jesus was to grab him was to hold him was to and and it tells more about Jesus doesn't it then even about Mary Mary you cannot hold me I must rise above this world to be with my father who's also your father my God who is also your God go tell this to all my brothers he doesn't say followers he doesn't say disciples he says my bro's go tell this to my family the people who put their hope in me that have been waiting for this to happen and tell them it has happened I have risen from the dead Mary Magdalene obeyed went directly to his disciples and she announced to them I've seen the Lord and this is what he said to me and she recounts the whole story and on that same evening Resurrection Sunday the followers gathered together behind locked doors because they were still afraid that some of the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem the same ones that had crucified Jesus were still searching for them and out of nowhere Jesus appeared to them in the center of the room and he says may each one of you be at peace may each one of you experience Shalom may each one of you experience a deep deep soulish peace that passes all understanding that breaks through the darkness of despair and he breathes on them and fills them with the Holy Spirit and as he was speaking he revealed the wounds in his hands and his sighs disciples began to do what celebrate we haven't stopped since because we believe the resurrection is real and we believe the resurrection offers life both eternal and present life and they began to celebrate as it sank in that they were really seeing the Lord you know knowing many of us struggle with doubts and belief of our own mommy just to take a moment to shed a little bit of light on the reality of the resurrection there were several things in my journey of faith that helped me to be convinced that the resurrection really happened because it's no secret that Christianity is based on this one event that everything that we believe hinges on this reality but and so is it true and there were five truths that that that I encountered in my journey put together maybe one on its own isn't as believable but when I put all of these five things together it convinced me that I could even in an intellectual way put my trust in Jesus and his resurrection the first thing is that Christ predicted his death and resurrection he said it would happen and it happened now I've talked to people all the time who believe in the teachings of Jesus but don't believe in the resurrection of Jesus and in my response to people that are that are always investigating and and they and they believe in some of what Jesus said but they don't believe in all of Jesus said I say you have to consider all of it or none of it yeah either he is he is crazy because because he not only predicted that he would die but that he can't would come back to life so that is that's what crazy people do or he's legit and if he's crazy you can't but I would if you think he's crazy don't believe any of his teaching but if you believe even some of it or even some of who Jesus is is compelling to you then investigate all of it and see he had to say about himself and he predicted his resurrection you put this together to a few other things the second one is his followers saw him resurrected saw him resurrected and testified to it in writing they put it down for us so that we could read it thousands of years laters we have the manuscripts and-and-and he showed himself to numerous people over 500 people saw him after the resurrection and they talked to us they tell us in writing about it third his followers had courage and boldness unlike they had when he was going to the cross they were afraid they they were timid they even Peter who when confronted with with people saying hey don't you know Jesus like no I don't know who this guy is late just a few days later after the resurrection after being filled Holy Spirit he goes out and he testifies that Jesus Christ died and rose again and he did it so often and so many times he actually ended up dying for it you don't die for someone who tricked you who's still in the grave who said he would rise but didn't you put all this stuff together I start to go maybe maybe then a couple other things the growth of the church you know the only way that Christianity could ever get out of the first century and survive the Roman Empire through a bunch of uneducated men and women is if Jesus actually rose from the dead they're not clever enough to put this whole thing together and for it to last as it has and the fifth thing the truth that I have chosen to believe is the testimony of millions and millions of people over hundreds and hundreds of years sure a few people few testimonies of people you can put those off as craziness and not like fanatical but when you put all of them together the billions of people over the centuries who have put their faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and you add to that all of these other things it is a compelling case for the resurrection of Jesus Christ so I've chosen to put my faith in that and then I think about the many people have been delivered from addictions and whose relationships have been restored and those who have been healed from physical illness through the power of the resurrection of Jesus all of this combined did I mention he predicted his own resurrection and pulled it off I love what Luke chapter one says because of God's tender mercy the morning light from heaven is about to break in upon us I mean Jesus is about to show up on the scene Luke chapter 1 the very beginnings story of his birth and and and there's a prophecy given that this God's tender mercy as a result of that the morning light that we've been waiting for is about to break in upon us to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death and to guide us to the path of peace it was so compelling to me about Jesus and about his resurrection is that darkness doesn't stand a chance against it we will walk through the valley of the shadow of death we will experience heartache on this side of eternity we will but what I know is that I can put my hope and trust and faith in the light that comes even in those moments through the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ I do not have to fear I do not have to be afraid I don't have to wonder if there's if there's life on the other side of my pain you don't either because there's a promise a light will dawn and has dawned and new story is being written it won't always be dark even the moon tells us and reminds us that there is light on the other side of midnight so where are you today on the continuum of darkness and light some of you are experiencing deep darkness today you don't know how you can get through some of you are experiencing maybe even right now you're experiencing a dawn there's the light is beginning to shine something that you had never really considered before that Jesus is who he says he is and did what he said he would do and a light is beginning to Don and some of you have have been basking in the midday Sun of the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ and you're like living it right now and then there are others of us who have experienced the the midday Sun of Jesus and we are now experiencing again darkness I used to think that wasn't possible I used to believe that once you experience the midday Sun you never go back into darkness and then life happened and you find yourself back in that place and when you experience the death of Friday's crucifixion again what I would say to you is don't let go of the hope of resurrection life because it will still it will it will it will come all of a sudden again in your life it will happen all of a sudden again where you wake up one Sunday morning and the light is shining again because this is what I know death often precedes life and life always follows death always because nothing can extinguish the light that Jesus gave in his resurrection not even death Barbara brown Taylor writes that the seeds of light are planted in darkness where they sprout and grow we know not how I know how I've experienced even in my own darkness the buds of light springing forth again we need the light don't we we need the light when we're trying to find the pacifier at night and you stub your toe you need light then when the surgeon when she's working on you you I hope she's got light going on right and we also need light when our souls are in despair that's what this series that we're launching today is all about how do we let there be light in our lives on Monday after Resurrection Sunday how does the resurrection of Jesus inform our living this life that is often filled with darkness CS Lewis wrote this the great author CS Lewis I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else so how do you you and I allow the darkness to reveal the light you know even the songs that we've son today and keeps this phrase keeps coming up this idea of those living in the shadow of death will see a great light how do we see light how do you and I see light while I thinking about the camera and the shutter and the aperture of a camera and you know that living the Christian life is not autofocus it's not it's manual control you get to choose how wide you'll open the shutter of your heart to the light of Jesus today you get to decide that there's no pressure for me I think there might be a little pressure from the Holy Spirit because he loves you and wants to spend the rest of your life with you but he's not gonna force anything on you and he's simply asking all of us not just those who maybe you you've never allowed the light of Jesus to to reflect back into your life there's some of you that have been that you've been living in Jesus your entire life but something has grown dim in you and would you allow today would you open up your shutter just a little bit wider to allow the light of Jesus to shine even into those areas that that you're not very proud of those places that you've kept hidden out of out of you and Jesus will come in with so much love and tenderness right tender mercy and grace and compassion and show you the way through the dark back into the light you bow your heads with me and I'm gonna pray a prayer asking the light of Jesus to an to reengage and to reflect back into our lives and if you would like to open the shutter of your heart just a little bit wider today to the light of Jesus would you pray this prayer with me whether you've prayed it a prayer like this before or this is the first time see these words Jesus I opened my eyes and my heart to see you I embrace you and the light you offer in your resurrection I believe in you shine your light into my darkness in Jesus name keep your eyes closed if you prayed that prayer or a prayer like that for the first time would you acknowledge that publicly simply by looking up at me raising your hand and really it's before between you and God and I'm just joining in so I can celebrate with you but if that's your prayer first time would you just lift your hand right now yeah awesome thank you Jesus thank you Lord for resurrection life yeah great awesome anyone else thank you Lord awesome for those of us that have already asked Jesus into our life and you need you need an extra measure of light to come flooding in right now would you allow the resurrection power of Jesus to be rekindled in your experience would you welcome the light that only his life can bring and if you need a fresh touch from God his light and love to come flooding back into you we just lift your hand up to Jesus right now as well Jesus you see our hands we're desperate for more of you God we're desperate for a fresh experience a fresh sight of who you are Jesus into our everyday lives so open our eyes to see you again in a new and fresh way I pray Jesus name [Applause] see if I love how you used the phrase journey of faith there's there's something about those words that give me permission to have questions permission to be in progress not already arrived and have it all figured out and we definitely as a church that's that's a picture of who we are as a faith family we're all in different places in our faith journey some of you today I've just made some really pivotal decisions in your own life your own faith and that's awesome we wanted everything possible to be a resource to each other around the campus you'll see these packets it's a simple begin packet inside it are some different resources that help answer questions maybe ask some questions help you connect here to the rest of the family so if you want one of those grab one they're all over the place and I make sure you take advantage of that one of the other things we do as we regularly gather is we take time to give as part of our worship and if you're here today as a guest certainly you're welcome to participate but there's no obligation at all this is something that we do as as a church family and it's really part of how we are the help and hands of Jesus in really practical ways to each other to our community and beyond so as our Usher's come forward let me lead us in prayer God we're so grateful for this time together we're so grateful for the way that you give constantly and you pour into our lives God today as we give we pray that you would use it and multiply it to impact to love to bring help to bring hope to our world and we give in your name amen amen go ahead there are forces at work in our world opposing elements that together shape everything we experience forces of influence powerful groundbreaking earth-shattering simultaneously there is a softer side of influence a subtle invisible force that orchestrates change over many years we are responsible for unleashing potential catalyzing visions battling complacency charting in individuals in teams in our world this year joined 445,000 and learn how to maximize leadership training from featuring simon Sinek Angela Aaron's strive masseur Danny Maya [Music] Rory Vaden go down Rasmus Angus McManus David lemon law saying those quick Craig Groeschel Denzel Washington bill hybels is a powerful thing is instant and everyone has the question is how are you steered in your Global Leadership Summit this August do not miss it you may be a business leader business owner he may be a leader in education in our civic community you may be a leader in your neighborhood your family for sure whatever it may be if you want to grow and your influence and the span and breadth of that take advantage of this early bird registration and price gonna be out soon based on last year's crowds we think we'll probably be at capacity so don't wait on this if you're interested you may have teams that you're working for places that you want to bring to this so keep your eyes and ears peeled for more info on that all right a couple other things before we wrap up number one out in the atrium when you leave there's a a photo wall which amazingly it's a it's a wall that you like to take photos in front of it's the kind of thing we do here we put that kind of stuff together it's pretty technical yeah it's a photo wall grab friends family make sure you snap a picture if you want grab total strangers if you want whatever it takes grab some photos to capture to today and then also for parents who have kids or families that brought kids for the Easter egg hunt I want to give you a couple bits of the instruction first let's put the map up on the screen let me show you a couple places there depending on ages if you have a one-year-old or two year old that hunt area is back here behind the nursery if you just go out the east doors and around there'll be signs and workers out there they'll help you find the place so that's around there three-year-olds through five-year-olds are back here in the lawn by the atrium if you came in through the atrium you saw that area and then the big guns the elite class the grade schoolers they are down on the lawn below all right and again there will be workers with signs and information to help you find your place all around there a couple pots to make it work well for everybody we ask that every child be with an adult hopefully an adult that you approve of strategize a little bit you may be a single dad single mom and you've got 10 kids with you figure out how to team up with some friends or whatever if you want to take all your kids to one hunt though you're more than welcome to do that we do ask that you take the older ones - the younger hunts so again if you have questions workers can help you with all that kind of stuff the Hunts start at 12:30 sharp if you your kids don't have a basket or anything like that we do have bags and things like that available at each of the sites again if you have questions find someone with a badge on a west side badge and ask them they're more than happy to help you out with that all right last but not least we want invite you back next week is week number two in the series that we just started today which is let there be light it's gonna be an amazing time do not want to miss it so that's next weekend otherwise Happy Easter have a great rest of your day we'll see you later [Music]

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