May Newsletter – A Resurrection Sunday Postscript.

Revelation 14:12 ESV

Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

I find it hard to believe Easter has come and gone! We need to remember its victorious and power inducing message in what is presently impacting the world. As we continue following our “Safer at Home” directive, the sturm und drang of our situation blows powerfully, even deafeningly, around us. Truthfully, it is hard to hear anything else.

Yet even in the intensity of what has gripped us, our gracious and loving God remains in control of it all. That is what I wanted to bring your attention to as we ride through this mess. Trial, challenges, obstacles, and other difficulties are a normative part of the Christian experience. Paul tells us in Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Paul is free from being overwhelmed by his circumstances because he focuses on the glory of what is to come. Paul’s attention is on the resurrection and what that means, rather than the tomb. Tragedy can paralyze you. Look at the disciples. The crucifixion and death of Christ must have absolutely doubled them over . Imagine regularly being with a man who had the power to raise the dead, calm storms, cast out demons, heal the incurable, walk on water, make water into wine, and impart the full truth of His Father’s word! Then, “Boom!,” he is forcibly taken away, murdered, and buried. How could that possibly be? Their despondency and fear is palpable after this tragic turn of events.

But when Christ suddenly appears to them, walks and talks with them, has them touch his hands and side, and even eats with them – it all changes. Jesus has conclusively shown them he has destroyed what they fear most. They become unstoppable!

This is our story as well. In Christ’s resurrection we now know we are able to overcome the impossible. As you’ve recently experienced, we desperately need encouragement in crazy times like this. Precisely because of what is happening I want to start an online study via ZOOM of “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” by John Bunyan (It is second only to the Bible in total sales of any book ever sold). Christian – the protagonist in the book – is representative of each of us as we encounter the trials the world, our flesh, and Satan throws at believers. Many are far from easy, and Christian’s journey speaks thoughtfully and helpfully to how we keep our eyes on Christ and the Celestial City to successfully traverse the difficulties we face and reach our Savior who awaits us. Here is a spiritual workout which promises everlasting value!

I’ll start it at 6pm on the 13th of May, to allow everyone to find a copy of the book. Amazon has been really SLOOOWWW in delivering as of late, hence the buffer period. You want this version: The Accurate Revised Edition of The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan, revised and edited by Barry Horner. ISBN 978-159925-217-9. If you want the questions I’ll be asking ahead of time, email me and I will get them to you! I go through roughly two chapters per week. My prayer is to have Jodi and Josh give a brief and easy overview of how ZOOM works on the website, so we can at last see and converse with one another during the class. It is in the spiritual work we do now which strengthens us to endure what lays before us. Who’s with me?

In His love,

John