as we approach Easter

As we approach Easter Sunday, I want to give you some encouragement during this Holy Week. My family and I are entering our ninth resurrection Sunday at New Friendship. Needless to say, we have seen hundreds of people, if not into the thousands of people come through the doors of New Friendship on Easter Sunday. Oh how glorious!

On the eve of Easter weekend, I want to encourage our faith family, or any faith family to do a couple of things as we gather this Sunday:

  1. Be a 300-person greet team. No matter what age or stage in life you find yourself, let’s collectively engage every person as they step onto our campus this Easter weekend. Be a smiling face, a warm welcome, a people ready to meet new people. We all know what it’s like to have entered a new place for the first time. We understand that feeling. Let’s kick that feeling right out the door and welcome people into family. Actively search out people you don’t know and go an introduce yourself to them. And for goodness sake, don’t ask someone to “get out of your seat.” Go find a new one! People resonate with people. People resonate with stories. Be friendly this Easter weekend. We need all hands on deck this Easter.
    1. 4,052 – At the time of this blog post, this is how many people our Easter invite has reached on Facebook, not to mention the intentional inviting by each of you. We will have people on our campus who have never been in church before. We will have people who will experience the gospel for the first time this weekend. Let’s welcome them with open arms!
  2. Worship your heart out. This weekend as we gather, we are celebrating the greatest story ever told. We are celebrating the fact that Jesus is alive and the tomb is empty. We are celebrating the story of redemption. We are celebrating the story of hope. We are celebrating the story of life. Worship your heart out. Clap your hands, lift up holy hands, sing at the top of your lungs, shout in the name of the Lord. Guys, the tomb is empty. We have life in the resurrected Christ. Let’s worship with everything we have, because He alone is worthy of all worship; He alone receives all the glory; and He alone can bring salvation to the nations because of the worship of His people. Let’s enthusiastically worship the resurrected King.
  3. Audibly respond during the Preaching. As Pastor Barry begins to preach, if something resonates with your heart, how about shouting our a hearty “amen!” or clapping your hands. Not only does it help him out, but it also shows guests that the Word is alive and has manifested itself within us. Be engaged during the preaching time. Every time the Word is proclaimed, it requires us to respond in some way. This isn’t a new approach to the Scriptures, but a biblical approach. When we hear the Word taught, we have one of two choices – we either a) choose to accept the good news of the gospel, or b) we reject the good news of the gospel. This gospel is the life-changing truth of the resurrected King. So, this Sunday, let’s be fully engaged as we sit under the preaching and teaching of the Word.
  4. Let’s Pray. As await the gathering of God’s people, let’s commit to praying for this weekend. We should do this every week, but specifically this weekend. Let’s pray for those who will be attending one of our services. Let’s pray that their hearts would be open to the gospel, and that they might receive the free gift of salvation from our God. Let’s’ pray for their families. Let’s pray for each other. Let’s pray for our Pastor as he puts the final touches on his Easter sermon. Let’s pray for our own hearts. Let’s pray that the Lord would reveal sin in our hearts, and that we would repent and believe. Let’s pray for our community, our nation, and the nations. Let’s pray for our brothers and sisters who are gathering all over the world to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Let’s pray for our brothers and sisters who are having to meet in secret during this Easter season. Let’s pray that we would see a massive movement of God throughout the world this weekend. As we approach Easter, let’s be a praying people.

Be encouraged this Easter weekend. Know that our staff is praying for you as you celebrate the resurrection of Christ from the grave. We look forward to gathering with you and celebrating together.

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