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Spiritual Matters
Find endless hope this Easter

April 16, 2014

"The Barna Group, found that 69 percent of U.S. adults celebrate Easter as a religious holiday." This is indeed great news because what that means is there is a great opportunity for the churches in and around Clarkston to live out the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Which means the gospel has got to be preached by both the pastor and the congregation.

It needs to be preached in word and through our actions as well. People need the Gospel because the message of the Gospel overwhelms us with the love God gives. It compels us to love others.

The Gospel is this great message of hope, that in Christ, we have been forgiven, we are the beloved children of God. Our relationship with God has been restored, there is no more condemnation over our lives.

When we understand that adoption into God's family is a fixed position in Christ it means we can get rid of the vicious cycle of trying to do more and more in order for God to accept us.

We already are accepted as a result of receiving the grace of God through Christ by faith.

The two verses that I have been focused on this year for Easter is 1 Peter 1:3-4: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you"

Gabriel Marcel adds insightful commentary to these verses when he says, "hope is for the soul what breathing is for the living organism."

Biblical hope is not some sort of superstitious uncertainty, instead it is alive and certain because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Life without Christ is a hopeless end, whereas life in Christ is an endless hope.

What we have to offer as the Christian Church is endless hope in Christ Jesus. Isn't that something you would want to be a part of? Isn't that something worth sharing and devoting your life to?

Thomas Brooks, a Puritan writer says "hope can allow us to see heaven through the thickest clouds."

So my prayer for our community is God will use the people of our churches to help people encounter the Resurrected King this Easter.

What I know is that people need to come alive with a living hope that can only be found in the Easter message and through the power of the Resurrection.

The Rev. Dr. Matthew Webster is pastor of First Congregational Church of Clarkston.