He Is Risen

Finding Light in Dark Times: The Resurrection of Jesus Offers Hope

Dan Franklin
Mar 31, 2024    38m
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Do you ever feel overwhelmed by life's darkest moments, struggling with grief, doubt, or a lack of purpose? The resurrection of Jesus offers a powerful message of hope and new life. This Easter sermon explores how the resurrection of Jesus speaks light into our darkness, providing strength to overcome challenges, comfort in times of loss, and the restoration of faith when doubts creep in. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Intro: [00:00:00] Hey there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at LBF.church to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. Also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Paul Seawright: [00:00:19] Good morning. My name is Paul Seawright. Today's scripture reading comes from Matthew 28, verses 1 through 10, "He has risen. After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. 5The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” 8So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” And this is God's word.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:54] You can grab a seat. Happy Easter! It is awesome to gather together. Let's try this. He is risen! He is risen Indeed! Amen. That's why we gather on Easter, we gather on Easter to celebrate the story that we just heard told. And so, even if you're not a regular churchgoer, you know that this is the day that we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. We're going to continue to do that through walking through the story. First of all, seeing that this is a story that's about something that happened 2000 years ago, but that it's also a story that resonates into our lives today and calls each of us to some sort of response. So before we're done today, everybody is going to be asked the question, what is the next step Jesus is calling me to? And it might be some sort of next step of growth or a bold step of faith, or for some of you, that next step might be to put your faith in Jesus for the first time.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:00] But one of the things that's striking about this, we know Easter is about the resurrection of Jesus, and we just read the story from the Gospel of Matthew, the ten verses that tell the story. One of the things that sort of stands out is that throughout the rest of the New Testament, there are letters that authors wrote to help us understand what the resurrection of Jesus means for us today. But as Matthew tells the story, he tells it in a very straightforward way, it's less about what the resurrection means, and it's more just about the fact that the resurrection happened. In fact, let's just take a minute, let's take a few minutes and we'll just go through those ten verses again, and I just want you to notice how straightforwardly Matthew tells the story.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:46] In verse 1 he says, "After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, that's Sunday, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb." So these are two women who loved and followed Jesus, they went back to the tomb to visit there and to attend to his body. But then we read verses 2 through 4, "There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men." So when Jesus was crucified, which is what we took time to remember on Good Friday, afterwards he was taken down and he was thrown into a tomb. The Jewish authorities were concerned, and their concern was that because Jesus was so popular that his disciples would come and steal his body from the tomb, and then spread the story that he had been raised from the dead. So they had two ways to prevent that from happening. The first is that they rolled a giant stone in front of the tomb, and the second was that they set up guards in front of it. But we read here an angel came down and took care of both of those, he came down shining in brightness. He rolls away the stone and sits on top of it, he scares off the guards, and now the tomb is open.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:19] And now we get to verse 5, "The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here." By the way, at my age when I was a kid, there would be sometimes that you would just show up at a friend's house to ask him to come and play. And so sometimes you show up at the house and mom or dad comes out and they're like, oh, like, Billy's not here. And you're like, why is he not here, this is his house. The women show up at the tomb and the angel is like, he's not here. I know it's his tomb but "He is not here; he has risen, just as he said."

Dan Franklin: [00:06:00] And I love that, just as he said. Because there were at least five times in the Gospel of Matthew alone, not even counting the other gospel writers, five times in the Gospel of Matthew alone that Jesus specifically predicted his resurrection. He said I'm going to be betrayed, I'll be arrested, I'll be handed over, I'll be put on trial, I'll be put to death, but on the third day, I will be raised from the dead. He has risen just as he said. Jesus didn't show up after his resurrection and say, guys, I'm as surprised as you are. Like, who would have guessed? "He has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:55] Verse 8 then says, "So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples." Afraid, yet filled with joy. We were reading this passage last night at the dinner table, just as a family to prepare for today, and my son Jack just highlighted that whole idea of afraid, yet filled with joy, as an appropriate way for any of us to approach God. And the cool thing about this with the women here is the fear, the being afraid, was not a cowering fear, it was almost more like a nervous energy. Of like, we don't know exactly what's going on, we don't know exactly what the future holds, we're excited, we have joy because we just got the announcement that he's risen, but we're kind of afraid because we don't know what's happening. I feel like that is actually a way of encapsulating what it's like to follow Jesus. You're afraid, yet you're filled with joy. He's making you new, and he's shaping you, and it's exciting and it's interesting and it's joy-filled. But you also have that nervous energy of not knowing how it's going to turn out. That's how it was for the women when they heard the announcement of the resurrection, afraid, yet filled with joy.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:08] And then verses 9 and 10 tell us, "Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” There are ten more verses before the Gospel of Matthew ends, but that is Matthew's resurrection account. Just those ten verses, that's the whole thing, that's the whole story of the resurrection. It's incredibly straightforward, it's treated as if the main thing that Matthew wants us to get is that this is an event that happened. It's sort of like we'll deal with the implications later on, but first and foremost, he just wants us to get that this is something that happened, this is an actual event that took place in history. We celebrate today that the resurrection of Jesus actually happened. It happened and it split history in half, where now every event in human history we think of as either BC or AD. It happened, and since the time that it happened billions of people have bowed the knee to Jesus as the king. It happened, and thousands of songs, millions of churches, and millions of missionaries have cropped up and been sent out to spread the message of Jesus. And since the resurrection happened, billions of people have had their lives transformed by putting their personal faith in Jesus. Matthew wants us to know first and foremost, that this is something that happened, it's not just an idea, it's not a fable, it actually happened, and there are witnesses.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:04] But what I want to do now is I want to zero in on just two phrases that show up toward the end of Matthew's account. Two phrases that help us take this story that happened and respond to it today in 2024. One phrase is going to have to do with our response to Jesus and his resurrection, and the second phrase is going to have to do with the risen Jesus and his response to us.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:35] So first our response to him. This shows up in verse 9, "Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him." That's the first phrase we'll zero in on, that they worshiped him. That to the women who were the first witnesses of the resurrection, this seemed like the appropriate response, it was just a spontaneous, immediate response; they felt like the best way they could respond was to worship him. By the way, a quick note on this. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John they all tell the resurrection story and each of them highlights different details of it. But something that all four of them highlight very specifically is that the first witnesses to the resurrection were women. And one of the reasons why this is so significant is because, in the ancient Near East, where the story is taking place, women were not considered to be credible witnesses in a courtroom. But Jesus doesn't seem to care about how we view status, and so he makes sure that the first witnesses to the most important event in human history were faithful women. The women are the first witnesses to the resurrection, and they're the first responders to the resurrection, and they respond with worship because they felt like that's the appropriate response, and they were right. It's the appropriate response for them, and it's the appropriate response for us, that we would respond to the risen Jesus by worshiping him.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:15] And some of you might feel like., well, yeah, that's why we came, like, that's why we're here right now. In fact, we just did it a few minutes ago, we just sang songs, and we worshiped him. Some of you might even be saying, I do that every week, pretty much, like I show up here or at another church service and I worship him. Some of you might be feeling like not every week, but frequently I show up at church services and I worship him. Some of you are like, I was here last year and I'm here this year. But maybe, honestly, for you, you're like, that's what I feel like is an appropriate response, at the very least, every Easter I gather with other people, and we sing songs to him. And I'm not knocking that, obviously, because it's great that we do that. But I want to make sure that we understand that what the women were doing when they worshiped him, they were not saying, hey, Jesus, for the rest of our lives, we will gather once a week, and for one hour during that week we will worship you. It was much more all-encompassing than that, they were saying, whatever you say, we'll believe, whatever you tell us to do, we'll do, you will be the center of our lives, we worship you. Worship is full devotion, full adoration, and full submission. It's the idea of saying to Jesus, everything that I have is yours. My money, my money is not mine, my money was given to me by you, so however you lead me to use the money and the resources that you give me, that's up to you because I worship you. However you lead me in my relationships, how I conduct myself, and how I handle things, I'm giving that to you because I worship you. However, you're calling me to handle sin and habits and righteousness and all that, you will be the center of my life. Jesus, you get my full devotion, my full adoration, and my full submission, I'm bowing the knee to you, you are the center of my life.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:11] Now I want to throw out that there might be some of you here that you hear me say that, and you look up on the screen and you're like, all right, full devotion, full adoration, full submission. And on a technical level, you don't disagree, you're sort of like, yes, that's correct, like that seems right, that seems appropriate. If Jesus is the risen Son of God, that seems right, and at the same time, it feels like a really big ask. You are just feeling like, all right, I feel like I might even be able to get on board and feel like it's sustainable to say, Jesus once a week for an hour, you have my full attention. But the idea of him being the center of our lives feels like a big ask, even if we feel like it's the right thing.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:58] So what I want to do now, is I want to zero in on the second phrase, because I think the second phrase helps us get on board with the first phrase. The second phrase has to do not with our response to Jesus, but with his response to us, and this shows up in verse 10, "Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” Phrase number one was they worshiped him, phrase number two is tell my brothers. Now, on first glance, you might think there's nothing remarkable about that until you realize he's not talking about his brothers. He's not talking about his biological siblings, he's talking about his disciples, but he refers to them as my brothers.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:56] So if you've ever read the book, or seen the movie, or watched the musical play of Les Misérables, there's a scene that happens towards the beginning. Jean Valjean, who's the main character, he's got out of prison, he's been released from prison after being there for 19 years. So he's a hardened criminal, he's a convicted criminal, and he's let out of prison, but nobody wants anything to do with him because he's a criminal. And so nobody's going to give him anything to eat, nobody's welcoming him in to give him a place to stay, nobody wants to give him any work, nobody wants anything to do with him. But then a bishop shows him some hospitality, and a bishop invites Jean Valjean into his home and allows him to stay there, and Jean Valjean then responds to that hospitality by robbing the bishop. He gets a bunch of his stuff, puts it in a bag, and leaves in the middle of the night so that he won't be caught. But he is caught, the police catch him, and they bring him back to the bishop. And then to the shock of Jean Valjean, the bishop lets him off the hook. The bishop tells the policeman, no, I gave him that stuff, he didn't steal it, I gave him that stuff. He lets him off the hook. In essence, he forgives him of his crime. But that's not even what shocks Valjean the most, what shocks him the most is that this bishop, this highly respected man with status in the community, looks at Jean Valjean, a hardened criminal, and he calls him my brother. And the fact that this man called him at his lowest, most worthless point, my brother, changes Valjean's life forever.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:48] What we've got here is way more profound than that. We have the eternal Son of God, freshly and triumphantly risen from the grave, the one who's worshiped by angels, the one who was and is and is to come, we have that eternal Son of God talking about a bunch of fishermen and working-class guys and calling them his brothers, and he's calling them his brothers because that's what they are. Because through Jesus' death, their sins have been forgiven, and through Jesus' resurrection, the gates of eternal life have been opened up, they now are adopted into God's family and so he calls them his brothers. He calls them his brothers because Jesus loves bringing sinners into God's family. He loves looking at people who have robbed him, and bringing them into the family, and calling them brothers.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:55] And now if you look at that and you're like, man, that would have been really cool. Like, it would have been really cool to be one of the original disciples, because then Jesus would have called me his brother. Well, here's the good news, if you're a believer in Jesus, you didn't have to be there in the first century to be called his brother or his sister. Look at what's said in the book of Hebrews chapter 2, verses 10 and 11 we read, "In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered." Jesus became our perfect Savior through his suffering and death. And then verse 11, "Both the one who makes people holy, that's Jesus, and those who are made holy, that's us, are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters." Jesus welcomes us into his family through his sacrificial death. He looks at you and he calls you brother, or he calls you sister, not because you earned that, but because through your faith in him, he has forgiven all of your sins and given you the gift of eternal life.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:19] And now think about this, worshiping Jesus is a big ask. We've given him our full devotion, our full adoration, our full submission, that's a lot to ask. But it seems a lot less overwhelming when we recognize the one who's asking us, is the one who died for us to bring us into the family of God, that's somebody who's trustworthy. There's a great verse in First John chapter 5, verse 3, I'll put it up on the screen for us. It says, "In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands." That's like real straightforward, if you're saying, yeah, I love God, but you're not keeping his commands, then you don't love God. He says this is how we show we love God; we keep his commands. And then he says, "And his commands are not." What? "Are not burdensome." Well, that seems kind of crazy, I mean, are you kidding me? Like full adoration, full devotion, full submission, that seems kind of burdensome. Everything I'm going to do with my money, everything I'm going to do in my relationships, and all my personal habits, are not burdensome. And John says, yeah, not burdensome. For at least three reasons. His commands are not burdensome, first of all, because even when we fail, he forgives us because Jesus paid it all. They are not burdensome because Jesus, when he welcomed us into the family, gave us the Holy Spirit as the seal that we belong. And because we have the Holy Spirit, it's less like Jesus is telling us, go and do this, and much more like Jesus is saying, come, let's do this. And third, less burdensome because every command that Jesus gives us is not just for his good, it's for our good. The one who welcomed us into the family through his shed blood can be trusted, and so the one that we worship calls us brother or calls us sister because Jesus loves welcoming sinners into God's family. And Jesus, through his resurrection, loves meeting us at the darkest times that we face in order to give us hope and welcome us close to him.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:46] There's a member of our church family who decided he was willing to share his story for us of some things that have unfolded over the last couple of years where he has experienced this very thing. Where he has experienced God speaking into the darkness when things were hopeless and God bringing a sinner into his family. And so we're going to take some time right now to through a video, watch how his story shows us an example of what Jesus has done for each one of us.

Fraser: [00:23:31] In 2019, I was at a definite valley in my life. There were a ton of hardships, whether it be work, financial, family, or marriage. I was involved with a career that was, to me, became overwhelming, it started to draw me away from my wife and my being both and my family. And I think it's safe to say that that is my priority, I was not a present father, and that's not something that I was and am proud of. When was home, I was disconnected, I was thinking about work. I was trying to about finances or money problems, and that essentially took away from my relationship with my kids.

Fraser: [00:24:16] It was at that point when my wife Michelle, started to seek out options to better our family and to better our life, and she ended up here at LBF church. She started attending regularly by herself, I quickly noticed the changes in her life and in her personality and the way just that she was carrying herself day to day, and I started attending with her and realizing that my family and Jesus and everything that I was putting, not as a priority, should be the priority. Everything seemed to change, my marriage got better, my relationship with my three children got better, and our family life was great... It was never expected, it happened all of a sudden, she wasn't sick, it was just a random fluke thing where she took a nap on a Sunday afternoon and never woke up, and the kids and I quickly realized that our lives would forever be changed after that day.

Fraser: [00:25:23] I knew that drugs and alcohol could numb my pain, and I knew that suicide would be an easy option, but with having three children, those weren't options for me personally. I needed to find a solution that would help my family move forward and come out of this tailspin that we were in. And when I was in that deep, dark pit, is when I found Jesus, and I put him at the center of my life, and he gave me hope. And ever since that day, our family's been moving forward, we've been healing, we've been grieving, we've been learning, but we've been moving forward as a family. Our knowledge and our faith in Jesus give us hope, and that is what I believe we need in order to move forward without Michelle.

Fraser: [00:26:11] The old Fraser would think about church or think about Jesus a couple of times a year, you know, Easter, Christmas. Whereas it became Sunday service, was an absolute joy for me to go to, it was the highlight of my week. I then got connected with the Wednesday night men's ministry, and these were just men that I could share with and that I could trust that they would hold me accountable. It's got me to this point where I can get up every day and feel like I can get through the day, I can take on the world, I can love and nurture and raise my children. That all stems from the hope that I get from Jesus and from my relationship with him. If I didn't have that, I don't know where I would be, but it would be safe to say that I wouldn't be where I am today. I'll never fully understand why I lost Michelle or why she went to be with God, but I definitely feel that it was God's will for her to bring me to LBF and to get me reacquainted with Jesus, to have Jesus placed at the center of my life, almost knowing that I was going to be moving forward without her.

Unknown: [00:27:41] Do you believe that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior? I do. And do you believe that he died on the cross, rising three days later, conquering over sin and death? I do. Then Chris and I are so excited to be able to baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Fraser: [00:28:04] Because of Jesus. I have hope, and because of that hope, I know that he'll always be with me. For me, Jesus' love feels like light in the darkness, and it gives you the strength and determination to move out of those dark times where you're tested.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:34] There's no dark place that's too dark for Jesus to reach into and to bring light to. Now, when we celebrate the resurrection, don't miss that what we celebrate is that Jesus was dead and buried. He was dead and, in the grave, and it still wasn't over, God still wasn't done. The most important part of what Jesus was going to do was still ahead, even when he was dead and buried. And no matter what dark place you're in right now, if it has to do with health, if it has to do with grief, if it has to do with a personal habit that you can't seem to break, no matter how dark whatever you're facing is right now, Jesus speaks life and hope into that because the God who raises the dead is still at work today.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:28] One of the things that, just over the past couple of years, I've told Fraser a couple of times, is man, I remember, I remember having a thought go through my head when we were doing Michelle's memorial service. And the thought was that a lot of people when they experienced dark times, they step away, we pull back, we isolate from people, we get mad at God because we're confused about what's happening, and so a lot of people step back. And I just remember in that service, looking out at Fraser and saying, what's going to happen? Is he going to step back, or is he going to step toward Jesus during this dark time? And it was so amazing watching just from day one that Fraser decided to experience the faith, to exercise the faith, to keep walking toward Jesus each day. And two years later, he's experiencing the grace and the results of that. He's also experiencing something that's really beautiful, and that's because of Michelle's faith and because of his faith, he knows that the last time he saw her is not the last time he will see her, because God speaks hope into our darkest times.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:47] And I mentioned this before, but I want each of us to be able to take a few moments now and to think about what is the next step Jesus is calling me to, because there's always a next step. Some of you in here are committed believers in Jesus, you are looking to faithfully walk with Jesus. And that's true. But there's always a next step, there's always something new. Jesus is always at work in our lives, calling us to something new. And sometimes it's an area of sin that we have just kind of shrugged our shoulders at and said, it's not as bad as some other things, so I'll just sort of let this go. And Jesus is calling you to a further step of faith, to lean in and say, I want to give him my full devotion, my full adoration, my full submission, I want to give him everything because I can trust that God who raises the dead. For some of you, it might be some bold new step of faith where he's calling you to reach out in some risky ways to your coworkers or to your classmates, to go on a mission trip, to start being more generous with your money, there might be something new that Jesus is at work with, and you're reluctant, you're hesitant to step forward. And what I want to remind you of is the fact that even when Jesus was dead and buried, God was still winning the victory. So no matter what you're facing, and no matter how scary it feels like it is, God always wins the victory through Jesus.

Dan Franklin: [00:32:18] But I also want to say that for some of you in here, the next step of faith might feel like it's sort of at the beginning for you. Like you're at a point where the next step feels like the first step, or at least somewhere near the beginning, and so I want to take a couple of minutes to talk about what that next step might be. I'll talk about two things. One is going to be sort of a step toward the people who are worshiping this Jesus who you're looking at. We joke about this every year, but, you know, obviously, on Easter Sunday we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. But for Christians, every Sunday is Easter Sunday, every Sunday we're celebrating the resurrection. And so if you're here and you're like, all right, I'm not a normal churchgoer, but I came here on Easter Sunday. Great news, we'll be back next Sunday, and every Sunday until Jesus comes back. You are invited to come back, and even if you're not sure about Jesus yet, to experience what life is like amongst those who are worshiping him.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:23] But I also want to let you know that there might be something else Jesus is calling you to. In two weeks, on April 14th, we are going to start a new class here and we're just calling it the New Life class. If your journey towards Jesus is sort of at the beginning, this is probably the group for you, because it's a group that goes through some of the real core foundational things about Jesus. Who is Jesus? What is faith? What is the gospel? It gives you space to ask questions. So if you're a brand-new believer, or if you're somebody that you're like, well, I'm not a new believer, but I haven't been walking with Jesus and I'm sort of just coming back. Or if you're not a believer yet and you're like, I'm not sure I'm ready to bow the knee to Jesus yet, but I'm curious and I want to ask questions, this is the kind of group that when you join, you can ask any question and you'll never be made to feel bad about asking that question. So if you were to scan the QR code in front of you on one of the seats in front of you, it would take you straight to a spot where you could sign up for this group that starts two weeks from today, it's a great next step.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:36] But as much as we want to invite you to take a next step with us, take a next step with this church, the biggest hope we have is that you would take a next step toward Jesus. And so we put something together this year in hopes that it can be useful to anybody here, but especially to any of you that might be toward the beginning. And that's that we wrote just a five-day devotional, it starts tomorrow, and it goes for five days. And it's a way if you're right now saying, I'm not sure what the full future holds, but I want to take a step towards Jesus, I want to grow closer to him, I want to know more, then this is a way of doing it. And if you scan the QR code just up here on the screen or on one of the TVs, and don't worry if you take out your phone, I'm going to assume the best of what's going on. This is a wonderful way to take a next step towards Jesus. And just to say, I'm not sure what the whole future holds, but man, for the next five days, I'm going to lean into this. And you'll go over things, you'll go over passages of Scripture, and you'll go over different things that will just walk you through who Jesus is and what real faith is, and what it looks like to walk by the Holy Spirit, and to make sure you understand the Gospel. And after that, here's the great news, after every next step with Jesus that we take, you know what we get? We get another next step. And so this would just be a way of you leaning in, I'll leave this up here, but this is just a way of leaning in and saying, I just want to take that next step. Even if things are dark right now, even if things are difficult, even if you feel like pulling away, Jesus is always welcoming you to a next step.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:16] And finally, I just want to mention one more thing. And members of the prayer ministry team, if you're in here, go ahead and come forward now. Maybe Jesus is calling you not simply to respond tomorrow, but he's calling you to respond right now. Maybe he's calling you to respond because there is some area of your life that feels dark and hopeless, and you just need some prayer. Or maybe today is the day when God has moved in your heart, and you are ready to put your faith in Jesus for the first time. The prayer ministry team is up here because, we come into these services often thinking, I'm going to do this real quick, and then I'll get on to the rest of my day. But sometimes God has other plans, and there's some way he's calling us to respond right in the moment. So before you rush off to whatever's next, be willing to take the time to listen to what God is speaking to your heart and to respond. The most important thing that will happen today is not what we eat or who wins the basketball games, the most important thing that each of us will experience today is whether will we respond to whatever next step Jesus is calling us to?

Dan Franklin: [00:37:30] So I'm going to invite you to go ahead and stand now, and I want to pray over all of us as we end our service in prayer. Father God, thank you so much that we live in the joy and in the hope of a risen Savior. Thank you that Jesus really did die to pay the price for all of our sins. Thank you that he really was raised and that there were witnesses of that resurrection. Thank you that we can have hope in the darkest times because when Jesus was dead and buried, that wasn't any difficulty for you. We pray that you'd speak hope into our darkness. We pray that you'd speak words of life into the scary next steps that you call us to. Knowing that when we bring you our worship, you are always welcoming us as your brothers and sisters. We pray for your move in our lives, in our church, in our community, and in our families. We pray all of this in the name of our risen Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. Amen. God bless you. Happy Easter and have a blessed rest of your Sunday.



Recorded in Upland, California.
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