I committed my life to God when I was twenty-seven.  I don’t mean a commitment to religion.  I had tried religiosity and it never worked for me.  I was never a happy camper about being a Christian.  It was just something I felt I had to do.  You know, like go to school.  The life changing commitment that came for me was a relational commitment.  When I figured it out, when I went from following the rules because I thought I needed or had too, to having a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, it was life changing.  All of the sudden things that were important to God became important to me.  And the Holy Spirit in my life gave me that desire and counseled me on how to go about it.  Instead of pushing myself to be a better person, I was now being pulled.  It was awesome, and still is.
One thing that came with my newfound relationship with Jesus was the excitement of being with others who were in a relationship with Christ.  Anytime I could get with other believers it was exciting.  And Sunday…. The Sunday gathering to worship God corporately, encourage one another, and to hear the Word of God taught became my weekly pep rally that I could not live without.  When we gather as a church it is still my favorite time of the week.  There is such a feeling of unity, power, and the presence of God when we are together.
Jesus said, For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”  Matt 18:20
I say all that to say this, My heart is still beating fast over the excitement of this past Easter Weekend.  Meeting together with Shady Grove and sharing the unified relationship we have with Jesus on the weekend we set aside to recognize what Jesus did for us was a spiritual, emotional, can’t take the smile off my face moment. (Sorry for the long sentence)
If you were there you know what I am talking about.  We had a great turnout for the Tenebrae Service on Friday night and then God’s house at Shady Grove was full on Resurrection Sunday.  I am so thankful that we had such a great God and His people day.  Last week I read of Christians being arrested in China for having public gatherings.  We need to pray for them, and we need to thank God so much for our freedoms and never take them for granted.
It is easy to focus on God on a day like we had this last Sunday.  I saw so many happy faces and very few dozing off while I was preaching.  How many times have you made yourself go to church and then afterwards you were so glad you did because you experienced the power of the gathering of Christ followers.
Can you imagine what it must have been like to be with Jesus?  His followers back then heard Him represent His Father in Heaven and knew that He came from God.  And then… How must have they have felt when he was crucified?  We know from the Gospels that they were devastated, depressed, and had lost hope.  Jesus was gone.  If you are like me you have thought many times, “Why?”  They studied the Old Testament prophecies.  They heard from Jesus’ own mouth that he was going to be crucified and then resurrected.  So then Why?  How could people who have experienced Jesus so powerfully and knew His promises get discouraged and lose hope so quickly?  I mean Jesus made some major promises about Himself and His Kingdom.
We do it to.  One minute we are excited about God and thankful to have all of His incredible promises, and then the next minute, we lose trust.  It is easy to trust something when you don’t need it, but…. When we get discouraged it is easy to pull away and lose hope.
How about you?  We all say we believe in God, Jesus, and the Bible.  But, when the going gets tough, do we trust the promises of God.
This Saturday night, we will look at how the disciples were devastated, depressed, afraid, and had lost hope when Jesus was crucified.  They forgot about the promises.  I am calling this weeks teaching, “Trust the Promises“.  We will look how God got His followers back on track and then, you know, the rest is history.
As always I look forward to seeing you.  I pray for you often.  Bring a friend to church.