Sunday, April 8, 2012, Nashille, Tennessee, 3:36 p.m., D.S.T.~
Greetings in the name of our Risen Saviour, Jesus Christ!
This is the senior pastor from Christ Community Assembly of God Church here in Nashville, Tennessee. My name is Bruce Bilkey and I have been a pastor for nearly 20 years now. I want to extend each and every one of you a most blessed Easter/Resurrection Sunday because even though it IS technically Easter, it is NOT about the bunny, colored eggs, sweet chocolate treats being left in a fancy basket, or wearing your best finery to church. Oh, no. It is ALL about Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the cross of Calvary!
Over two thousand years ago, Jesus, yes, the same Lord Jesus Christ who died on a cross at Calvary, rose from the dead and lives, even today! Jesus defeated death and ever since, those who believe in Him and call Him Lord celebrate His Resurrection from that cross! This is why we have a holiday like Easter Sunday because we celebrate Him!
We just celebrated Christ's Resurrection at my church. We had two action-packed services this morning (one at 9; the other at 10:45); both were standing-room only. So many people filled the pews and even the balcony and back/side walls were crowded with people.
The praise/worship team and choirs never sounded better, and the special soloists' songs reached even the most hard-hearted of people. Several people were in tears by the time the last notes were sung/played, so I knew the Message I preached was received.
I spoke about how cruelly Jesus was whipped and beaten and left for dead, beaten beyond recognition, although He was, Himself, blameless, without any sin; yet He loved us enough to willingly die in our place. Jesus didn't want us to go through that kind of pain or suffering, so He took our place. Jesus shed tHis precious blood for our iniquities and failures.
Now if that isn't true love in its purest form, then I don't know WHAT is!
After the invitation/call to salvation was given, over 50 people came to the altar, whre they then gave their hearts to Jesus. Young, old, middle-aged, white, black, brown, tan, yellow, disabled, healthy: it didn't matter. These people decided that they needed to have Jesus in their lives, so they all recited "The Sinner's Prayer" and the burden of sin/death immediately left them.
It was a time of great joy and celebration, as a respectable number of people were added to His Kingdom. Tears and cries of "Hallelujah!" were soon heard throughout the sanctuary.
And on Easter Sunday, of all days!
Seeing these new lives only made the meaning of Easter that more special and meaningful. Talk about a true "resurrection"! These people who accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour had a "resurrection" of their own: a resurrection from Hell and the sting of death. Because they trusted in Christ enough to give Him their lives, these people had a future: a future full of hope, peace, and above all, joy, and the assurance that they would be with Jesus Christ, forever and ever, in Heaven.
It is at times like this when I am glad to be doing what I do for a living. If I can reach just ONE person with the gospel of Jesus Christ, then I have done my job succrssfully. To reach 50+ people is nothing short of a miracle! And I praise God because it is only by His mercy that I was able to make them realize that, without Jesus Christ, there is absolutely NO hope for them whatsoever.
Well, I hate to leave, but I have to eat and then go back to church, just in time for the evening service. I hope and pray you learn to trust in Jesus Christ because no matter what you are facing, He, Jesus, is ALWAYS there! He will NEVER, EVER leave OR forsake you. He loves you that much, and He cares for you more than you will ever know!
~In His Service, Pastor Bruce Bilkey, Senior Pastor, Christ Community Assembly of God Church, Nashville, Tennessee. :)