The Easter Stupor
Every year in the week after Easter, I walk around in a haze…an Easter Stupor. We pour so much into being ready for the greatest celebration on the calendar and, having done so, I feel spent…as does every member of our wonderful team. But it is a glorious stupor because you realize you had the chance to share the gospel of Jesus with about 2000 more souls than you do on an ordinary weekend.
For weeks I asked you to pray and invite your unchurched friends to join us. Clearly, you did! Our Easter attendance figures were a considerable bump from last year. More importantly, when I presented the gospel at the end of my message and invited people to pray and raise their hands to indicate they had done so, every single service saw folks responding to that invitation. How many? Well…it was more than we have ever had on a weekend! I will share that number with you this weekend. (Teaser #1)
I asked you to remember that you were hosts and to welcome your guests by serving and parking off-site and inviting your friends. You did all those things. So, thank you! Pray with me that the confessions of faith were real and that God will continue to be at work in the lives of everyone who came to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.
This weekend will be special! It is a mini-celebration of an important initiative we launched a year ago called Beyond These Walls. Most of you will recall that back in June 2017, after weeks of casting a vision for eliminating our remaining debt so that we could move “beyond these walls” as never before, our Sweetheart Church responded with breathtaking generosity! Over $ 5.4 million pledged, almost exactly the amount of our remaining building debt. Seven hundred Chapel Hill families made pledges, both large and small, that said, “We’re in!”
But pledges are one thing; actual gifts are another. So…how are we doing? Well, the sermon series, Momentum, should give you some idea. But I think you will be VERY excited to hear what God has done through you in just nine months.
One of the things your staff learned about ourselves recently was that we don’t celebrate well! We set goals, we work hard to meet those goals, and then we move on to the next goals. Well, we want to do better! Given the spectacularly generous response in just the first lap of this three-lap race, it would be CRIMINAL not to pause, celebrate and say thank you.
How well ARE we doing? Well, you’ll just have to come and hear that, too! (Teaser #2). But you will NOT be disappointed! I look forward to sharing that news with you this weekend as well as a follow-up to one of the inspiring stories that was shared last week. And bring back that Easter friend! There will be no better time for them to discover the “sweetheart” of this church!
He is (still) risen…indeed!