Easter: an opportunity for Invitation

Easter is one of those times of opportunity, when people sometimes feel a tug from the Holy Spirit, or a undefined desire, to maybe explore this “church” thing… when maybe that thought isn’t high on their awareness list during other parts of the year.  Sure, nearly everyone plays the “pretend easter” game, with bunny chocolates, purchasing gifts, etc.  But still, the “real” meaning of Easter lurks just below the surface… and people read with increased interest, about local and area church activities, events, and opportunities to explore “what is this really about”.

Build on existing or newly formed relationships, and be a blessing to help your family, friends & neighbors in their exploration of Jesus, religion, church, faith, prayer, and the “rest of the story”, by inviting them to “go with you” as you make your plans to attend Maundy Thursday activities, Good Friday activities, and Easter worship and related events.

This Easter 2015 could be the start of a new journey toward Jesus in their life… and it all could hinge on whether you choose to “Invite People to Christ”.

  • If they say “no”, accept that as a “no, not  right now”, and keep building a relationship of trust and keep inviting them in the future.  God’s Spirit will continue to work with them too!
  • If they say “yes”, be a loving, welcoming, encouraging partner during their visit, and help them to experience the “Blessings of Community”, the “Worth of All Persons”, and to begin a journey where they too can encounter the living, resurrected Jesus, who wants to walk with and bless each of us here in 2015!

Their first visit is the hardest.  To help you understand that, let me share a Facebook post from Saturday, that I read yesterday:

“I am attending my first CoC service tomorrow. I haven’t been to any church in a few years, aside from s few family obligations with my Orthodox Mormon family. It feels odd to ask for tips but I don’t know how else to phrase it. I’ve been looking for a new spiritual home for sometime now 🙂 “

Thirty-four people (at least) provided comments, encouragement, “tips”, and testimonies, of how Community of Christ has blessed their spiritual and life journey!

You can be the disciple that INVITES someone who is also at this point of “I’ve been looking”.  I offer the following verses from latter day scripture, for your consideration and encouragement on this important task of inviting:

  • 164:2b (2010):  In harmony with God’s will, the Holy Spirit leads some people already committed to Jesus Christ through Christian baptism to further focus their response through church membership.
  • 164:2e (2010): bear witness to the ministry of the Holy Spirit, which weaves people’s giftedness into beautiful patterns of community to enrich their discipleship and to strengthen the fabric of the church.
  • 163:8c (2007): the entire church to become a sanctuary of Christ’s peace, where people from all nations, ethnicities, and life circumstances can be gathered into a spiritual home without dividing walls, as a fulfillment of the vision for which Jesus Christ sacrificed his life.
  • 162:3a-b (2004): 3a. Do not be discouraged. You have not been promised an easy path, but you have been assured that the Spirit that calls you will also accompany you. b. That Spirit is even now touching alive the souls of those who feel the passion of discipleship burning deeply within. Many others will respond if you are persistent in your witness and diligent in your mission to the world.
  • Words of Counsel (2013): Lovingly invite others to experience the good news of new life in community with Christ. Opportunities abound in your daily lives if you choose to see them.

Let’s each choose to follow God’s Spirit, who is already working ahead of us in people’s lives, preparing them to respond to your invitation.  Don’t judge their “readiness”.  Merely offer the invitation to journey with you, based on the relationship you already have with each person!

Want to learn more?  Explore with us at www.CofChrist.org.
Or click here to Find a congregation nearby.

A personal Palm Sunday

Some 2000 years ago, Jesus rode into Jerusalem, on the back of a donkey.  He did that intentionally. Kings, and Roman military leaders, rode horses – a symbol of worldly power and authority. Jesus’ power and presence is NOT of this world.

Jesus came to serve, heal, encourage, teach, and lead the people of our world, into a new way of living; a new way of being in relationship together, based on the foundation of “the greatest commandments”:  Love God. And Love each other, the way you love yourself!

There’s nothing wrong with loving yourself… as long as it’s a healthy, strengthening and encouraging love, led and empowered by the presence and guidance of God’s Holy Spirit at work in and through your life. With that level of “love of self”, you’re empowered to repent when you find you’ve made an error, seek forgiveness from God, self and others, choose to undo the damage of your errors, and enjoy the blessings of a fresh, new start.

This “foundation” allows us to grow beyond our past, to be freed from the burdens of our past, and to learn to “love” the person that God created us to become.  That love then, empowers us to love others in the same healing, forgiving way. Loving others demonstrates the Love that comes from God, generously poured out on each of us.

We cannot earn that love; we cannot deserve it.  It is available to us as a generous gift, available merely by accepting the gift! Jesus rode into Jerusalem with a new message of Love.  He arrived as a servant, not as a conquering king.

Today, Jesus asks to ride into YOUR heart and life, in a new way.  He brings the same message of Love, healing, hope, encouragement, and a new future.  That future is offered to you as a gift, unconditionally, through God’s Love.

Tomorrow does NOT have to be a repeat of yesterday! Jesus is not entering as a “conqueror” into your life, but rather as a servant/friend, inviting you onto a new journey, a new direction, with a new partner & guide.

As we approach Palm Sunday 2015 tomorrow, open the “gates” of your life… welcome Jesus with joy, celebration, and invitation.  Allow Him to show himself to you in new ways, through the community gathered in His name: Community of Christ.

You can find a welcoming, inviting, safe Community of Christ congregation near you.  We’re found in over 60 nations of the world.  Local congregations can be located here: http://www.cofchrist.org/find-a-congregation

Allow yourself to begin to experience the presence and ministry of the living Jesus on this Palm Sunday.  Let Him change your life in ways you’ve never imagined.  You’ll be amazed!

Come, and journey with Community of Christ, as we work together to change today’s world into God’s Kingdom on Earth, one life at a time!