Resurrection Celebration starts today.
If you’re reading this, you’re likely taking a mental pit stop in your preparations to lead ministry this weekend.
Remember too, that at this time two thousand years ago, Jesus and his disciples were preparing for the Passover. At his request and instruction, the disciples were likely rushing to finish preparations for the meal that would remind them of God’s great deliverance in the Exodus.
Meanwhile, Jesus was preparing to inaugurate a new and more profound deliverance from sin and death that would bring hope to all the world.
The greatest compliment
I’ve been in some interesting meetings recently.
Yesterday, Dr. Jim Denison and I had the privilege, honor, and joy of speaking at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas. HPU is my alma mater. The school is “Deep in the Heart of Texas” and in my heart too. God formed me greatly as a young Christian preparing for ministry in the mid-1980s (and I can’t believe it’s been that long).
While on campus yesterday, we unexpectantly reconnected with one of Howard Payne’s most notable alumnus, Dr. Richard Jackson, long-time pastor of North Phoenix Baptist Church.
I’d heard of Richard Jackson’s ministry from the time I was a student at Howard Payne three-and-a-half decades ago. I was thrilled to finally meet him about seven years ago in a pastor’s gathering assembled by my good friend Cliff Jenkins, who is celebrating his first Easter in heaven this weekend.
Yesterday, I was humbled and amazed at Dr. Jackson’s strength of spirit and ongoing joy. Now in his eighties and wearing a perfectly fitted coat and tie, he took time to share with me what God was teaching him about the real humanity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives. Then he said, “My favorite phrase these days is this, ‘I like the way Jesus looks in you!’”
My immediate thought was: “That sounds like the greatest compliment any Christ-follower could ask for. I hope it’s really true about me.”
A prayer for you, pastor
On this Resurrection Thursday, that is my prayer for you and me all weekend long.
May the Spirit of Jesus in us guard and guide us as we walk with him.
May he empower us to see and flee from temptation and sin so that we do not grieve him but rather return to him the overflowing joy that he has in us and is facilitating for us.
As you prepare to speak and preach, or sing and lead, this weekend, may you sense in fresh ways the closeness of the Chief Shepherd’s presence, hear the clarity of the Teacher’s voice, and receive the gentle turning of the Shepherd’s staff—and, if needed, the firm but caring prod of his coaching rod (See Psalm 23:4).
In his unique and wonderful way, he knows exactly what each of his “under-shepherds” needs to personally celebrate and publicly serve well through Easter 2022.
To Christ be all glory!
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” —Romans 15:13 NLT