He is Risen - Let's Celebrate the Savior - What to Know About Easter
Dear Church Family,
As we prepare for the celebration of The Resurrection, I wanted to write you a quick note of encouragement. Easter is the “High Holy Day” of Christianity. It is a day that commemorates the historical event of the raising of Jesus from the dead. All of human history turns on the events we remember this weekend. Here are some ways we can prepare for this weekend.
We need to pray that God would move in our hearts, that He would move in our families and that He would move in our city.
- Pray for boldness for our church in inviting people
- Pray that people would turn back to God this Sunday
- Pray that people would place their faith in Christ for the first time this Sunday
- Pray for the people attending churches all over our city that they would encounter Christ this Easter
Beginning Wednesday at dinner, your Elders and Church Staff will be fasting and praying leading up to our Good Friday service. Unless you are unable for health reasons, you are invited and encouraged to join us in this time of prayer and fasting. I have included a word about fasting at the end of this letter you might find helpful, especially if this is something new to you.
Jesus is too awesome to be kept a secret. I would encourage each of you to prayerfully invite one person to our Easter services. If you were to ask the average person in Greater Austin what Christianity was all about, chances are very good that they would describe something that looks nothing like the Gospel of Grace. Invite your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors to hear this message this Easter.
Please plan to attend one of our four services on Sunday morning. I will be wearing my Sunday best (I haven’t decided on which Converse to wear just yet), and will be ready to worship with you.
GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE 5-7pm
This is a come and go service for the whole family. You can come anytime between 5:00 and 7:00. Most families take around 15 minutes.
EASTER SERVICE TIMES
8:00am | 9:30am | 11:00 am | 1:30pm-Latino Service
He is risen!
“Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
Fasting is the practice of abstaining from food, or both food and drink, for a specified period of time. While fasting is often practiced for physical reasons, the Christian practice of fasting as a discipline is primarily for spiritual reasons.
Fasting is more about our longing for God than it is about abstaining from food. It is to show the ache of our hearts that we desire Jesus above all else, even food. In the verse above Jesus likened Himself to the bridegroom. “No one mourns while the bridegroom is present,” Jesus said, which is why His disciples did not fast while He was physically here on earth. But when the bridegroom leaves they fast in anticipation of His return. Though fasting is never directly mandated in the New Testament, it appears that Jesus assumed His disciples would practice fasting after He ascended back to the Father, where He now lives.
Fasting has a unique way of turning our eyes on God. Dallas Willard says, “Fasting confirms our utter dependence upon God by finding in him a source of sustenance beyond food.” This is why fasting can be very significant when combined with intense or extended periods of prayer. Fasting is one of the best ways to practice the self-denial that Jesus expected of His followers – “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24)
John Piper writes in his book, A Hunger For God:
Our appetites dictate the direction of our lives—whether it be the cravings of our stomachs, the passionate desire for possessions or power, or the longings of our spirits for God. But for the Christian, the hunger for anything besides God can be an archenemy, while our hunger for God—and Him alone—is the only thing that will bring victory.
Do you have that hunger for Him? If we don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.
When God is the supreme hunger of your heart, He will be supreme in everything. And when you are most satisfied in Him, He will be most glorified in you. There is an appetite for God. And it can be awakened. I invite you to turn from the dulling effects of food and the dangers of idolatry, and to say with some simple fast: "This much, O God, I want you."