Today was a very special day at our house in Lake Elsinore and there are 3 reasons for that:
1) Today, we launched the Grove Church of Lake Elsinore with our first Sunday morning service
2) Easter marks the end of the 40 days of Lent and our fast from meats and sweets
3) None of us have ever had an Easter like this
Let me tell you the story!
Since we moved to Lake Elsinore, we have been planning to plant a church in our community. It began with a Monday night Bible Study for youth and young adults from Mt. View in our home, and shifted to an invitation place for those young adults and some of our neighbors on Friday nights, and now is a Thursday night study almost exclusively made up of friends and neighbors from our community. We’ve seen numbers fluctuate from 2 people to almost 30 adults with kids to match, and we commonly average between 10-12 adults along with a number of kids that often exceeds our adult population. On Sunday afternoons we have small leadership meetings at our house where we mostly plan and pray for future events. We’ve been planning this particular service for a long time, several months at least, and today was the culmination of a vast multitude of prayers and hours and hours of work. The result? It was absolutely beautiful!
When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t at all interested in getting out of bed. It wasn’t that I was exhausted, it’s just that my bed was sooo comfortable again. I turned over and looked out the window: Clouds. I began to pray for the service and thank the Lord for the things He was going to do throughout the day. As I thought about the resurrection and all the ways he’s given me new life, I remembered the poem I had written for the service! I reached into my messenger bag beside my bed and pulled my notebooks out (I ran out of pages in one of my notebooks and now I can’t remember which one has what I need anymore). When I found the right one, I started adding line after line after line (mind you, the poem was already finished on Wednesday) until it felt complete all over again. In the middle of writing, Cameron knocked on the door and gave me an Easter gift; an In & Out gift card! That may not be such a big deal to some of you, but it was only the best gift in the world at that point in time! You see, we spent our forty days of Lent fasting from meat and sweets. (I know, I know, that’s torturous! Isn’t it?!) That gift card pointed to an even more personal resurrection this morning, the resurrection of my two favorite food groups! Seriously though, forty days of keeping yourself from the food you love is a sort of death:
Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
If you don’t believe me, give it a shot. I promise that you’ve never known the power of the resurrection like you will after a 40 day fast. As 2 Timothy 2:11 says:
11 This saying is trustworthy: For if we have died with Him, we will also live with Him;
That’s almost the chief distinctive of the Christian life, actually. As we strive to know Christ, we learn His passions and his pains just like in any other relationship and not only do we just see them; we share them. No friendship or marriage will survive if one party cannot understand or share the other party’s loves and hurts. Christ invites us to know His pain with the promise that we’ll know His victory too! Brilliant, right?!