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Tag: Announcements

Dread and Awe

Easter weekend is finally here. Of all the major church holidays we celebrate, this (extended) weekend is my favorite. From Maundy Thursday’s celebration of the Last Supper to Good Friday’s reflection on the death of Jesus. But Easter is the capstone. It’s the crescendo we’ve been building to since Christmas.

This year, I’m seeing it in a different light. No longer just an awe-filled celebration of victory over death, but also a dread-filled moment where we step back and realize exactly who it is we serve. It’s the healthy fear of the Lord that we hear about throughout the Scriptures. It’s the logic-defying truth that God is even bigger than death, a concept our limited minds can not truly understand.

Read on for this week’s cover article in the announcements.

Recently, we showed a section of the Gospel of John in worship about the resurrection of Lazarus. I experienced the story from a new perspective that day. Oftentimes, I miss the feelings behind stories—the mood. Music and solid acting really conveyed the sense of dread and awe the people must have felt at seeing Lazarus walk out of the tomb. My heart flutters just thinking of being there first-hand to witness it.

Flash forward to “Good” Friday, and Jesus is dying on the cross. After He dies, His friends are mourning and distraught. Because it was Friday, there was not time to prepare the burial spices and ointments, so Jesus was laid in a tomb until after the Sabbath. But what His friends found that first Easter morning was the unexpected.

And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? Luke 24:5

What dread and awe must the women have felt upon hearing these words? Or Peter, as he ran to the tomb to confirm the news of Jesus’ resurrection himself, upon entering and seeing only the cloths? Or the two men on the road to Emmaus, whose hearts burned within them as Jesus secretly taught them along the way?

Two-thousand years later, do you feel the same dread and awe? Jesus, who was dead, is alive. It defies logic. It is incomprehensible. It’s awesome and fills me with dread at the same time.

Jesus is risen. He is indeed. Alleluia!

Overcoming Evil

This week we continue our series on Giving Up, looking at the enemies we face. What is God’s plan for dealing with our enemies? Who even is our enemy? Read on for this week’s front-page article for the announcements.

Sometimes it feels like there are enemies all around us. We don’t call them that, but that’s what they are. They’re working against you at work, knowingly or unaware. They pick on you at school. They bully you on the playground. They  constantly ridicule you for your belief in God.

When you feel attacked, it’s easy to think of these people as the enemy. You want to hurt them like they’re hurting you. You want to see them suffer for the suffering they have caused you. But in God’s upside-down world, that’s not the plan:

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Romans 12:14

And again:

To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:20-21

God’s plan for overcoming our enemies is not to hold grudges or repay them for the wrongs they’ve committed, but to love them. And when we love instead of hate—when we bless instead of curse—we find they aren’t the enemy at all.

They’re a sinner in need of God’s love and forgiveness, just like you.

Announcements or Newsletters?

One of the tips from Erik Ticen, our awesome communications consultant at Vaughn Street that helped us analyze and improve our communication strategy, suggested we try to capitalize more on our weekend worship folder. Each weekend, 425 people get a copy, each week, plus some at some special services. We’ve always used the worship folder as an announcements sheet, primarily focusing on what’s coming up with the occasional story about what happened thrown in. In light of people not knowing what’s going on, what if we started treating the announcements as a form of story telling?

Starting this weekend and going through the the MOVE sermon series, we’re trying something different on the front page of the announcements. I’ll be writing an article, almost as if it were a paper version of a blog, highlighting some of the goings on that you can find inside the announcements. It’s less informational (though there’s certainly some in there) and more relational (kind of like a friend sharing what’s happening in their life). It invites people to engage more with the content, while also acting as a summary page, highlighting what you’ll find inside.

Let me know what you think about it in the comments, our through the First Trinity Feedback page. If you just can’t wait to see what I wrote, you can always sneak a peak by downloading the upcoming announcements page. It kinda feels like traveling forward in time when you do. Sadly, you only get that feeling on Friday afternoon before it becomes the present again.

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