If you haven’t been invited to an Easter service – at a church near you – consider this your invitation. It’s that time of year. It’s the apex of the Christian calendar. Easter is the culmination of Christmas. If you’re not a Christian, check out a church anyway this Sunday. If you are a Christian and you haven’t been in church for a while, I urge you to “Easter.”

Make this Easter a priority for you, your family, and friends.

I’m a pastor, and I’m sure people expect me to invite them to church. And yet, church attendance is not my goal. Rather, I want to see people experience and encounter the love of God. That’s paramount.

I’m a pastor, and Easter intimidates me. Typically, churches see a “bump” in attendance on Easter Sunday. With new guests and returning absentee members all choosing to attend church on Easter, everyone expects the pastor to be “on.” There’s a pressure to preach “the best sermon ever.”

I wrote in my journal this morning:

I am wanting to preach/speak in a way that refreshes the church, encourages believers, uplifts faith in each follower’s heart, and is used by God to lead nonChristians to joyfully surrender their life to Jesus in faith.

That’s my desire, but the results are really up to God.

I’m a pastor, and I long to see every seat filled (and then some) on Easter Sunday. I want to hear stories of members inviting neighbors, coworkers and friends and for those that visit to say, “I’m so thankful I came. It was the first time I can remember really understanding how much God loves me. I gave my life to Jesus that day.”

I’m a pastor, and I’ll be baptizing this Sunday. I can’t wait to see the smiles and joyful tears of families and friends as they celebrate the significance of salvation and forgiveness.

I’m a pastor, and I’ll be doing other “ministry” things during a long, two-service Sunday morning. I’ll help set up and tear down (since we meet in a middle school). I’ll welcome and greet. I’ll eat a couple of donuts with guests in the hallway.

I’m a pastor, and I’m also a man who desperately needs Easter.

I will worship as our worship team leads us in song. I will preach to myself the same message that I will be preaching to others. I will pray for my own heart to be transformed even as I pray for others. I will seek to experience and encounter the love of God as much as I want others to do so.

The message of Easter tells me – just like it tells everyone else – that my sins are forgiven in Christ. That by loving Jesus with all my heart – by trusting Him and placing my faith in what He did on the cross, I am saved. I won’t be condemned by God in the day of judgement. That the promise of the Bible is that whomever trusts Jesus as their Lord will be freely given peace with God. That God will not hold anything against me. My past, present and future screw-ups have been “paid for” by Jesus death. That just as Jesus was raised from the dead, so shall I be.

I need Easter. You do too.

Make this Easter a priority for you, your family, and friends.

Invite someone today. It will be a joy for you and them.

Also, when you think of it, pray for your pastor. It’s an important Sunday. Through prayer, they (and I) need to be reminded that they don’t carry the weight of Easter. Jesus has done that for us too.

P.S.

If you don’t have a church home, and you’re in southwest Virginia – especially if you’re in the New River Valley, please consider this an invitation to Northstar Church – either our Pulaski campus (service at 10:00 a.m.) or our Blacksburg campus (services at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m.). You’ll discover a group of people who will be ecstatic that you visited and urge you to enjoy Easter.

On this day...

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Jeff Noble

Jeff is the pastor of Northstar Church in Blacksburg, Virginia. He grew up in Arkansas, loves fantasy football and is an Apple fan boy. Follow him on Twitter or Instagram @journeyguy.
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