MESSAGE SERIES

Easter at Central 2022

Easter at Central Sermon Only Cal Jernigan April 17, 2022

Easter at Central Sermon Only
Cal Jernigan April 17, 2022

Easter at Central Full Service Cal Jernigan April 17, 2022

Easter at Central Full Service
Cal Jernigan April 17, 2022

[00:00:00] Well, it was dark there for a moment. Hey, good morning, everyone. And welcome. I want to welcome all of you who are with us here. Uh, I'm on the Gilbert campus. Uh, seriously, great to have you all here, but all across the valley and the different campuses, we want you to know you're on our mind, you're in our hearts. Also, those of you who are watching this online and experiencing it at home, uh, we are thinking about you as well, but my name is Cal I'm the lead pastor here and on behalf of all of us, man, I just want to express our gratitude that you're here. It might be your first time. It might be your 4000th time. Uh, but it makes a difference to us that you showed up. And I just want to say that. All right. All right. Uh, so there's an expression going around these days. You've probably heard it. Uh, I don't know where it originated from, but it's this expression? Well, I was today years old. And then they'll say something. And what they're saying is I was today years old before I figured something out. And then they'll say something that should have been self-evident, but for whatever reason, they never got the message. So I was like, in an example, I was today years old before I, I [00:01:00] figured out that this little piggy went to market. Didn't go shopping. It didn't go shot. Oh, oh, it got slaughtered. I. I I've always started with shopping. And so I was today years old and, uh, all of our life, we spend trying to connect dots, making sense out of things. This starts when you're just a little kid as a little kid, you're just trying to put pieces together. You're trying to gain wisdom. You're trying to understand how the world works and little kids. If you listen to them, they say funny. Uh, in fact, somebody captured just, I I've got just a handful of, uh, just kind of funny things that kids figured out. All right. Like one kid said this, uh, these are young kids. Uh, Patrick said never trusted dog to watch your food. How do you discover that? That's a bad idea. You let your dog watch your food, and then you realize that doesn't work. Uh, Naomi came up with this one, if you want, if you want a kitten start with asking for a whore. [00:02:00] That's just great wisdom. Another kid figured out that no matter how many tic Tacs you feed a dog, it won't make us breath better. My favorite one is from a little girl named Eileen. She says, never try to baptize a cat. Now that's a bad idea, but how you discover it's a bad idea is you do what you're trying, you know, and you go, that's just dumb. I won't ever do that again. I'll also find it entertaining how kids figure out like with their parents. As they're learning how to navigate with their parents. And one little girl at Talia, she said this, um, when your mom is mad at your dad, don't ever let her brush her hair and you can just see it. Right. You can just see the anger, you know, and, uh, another little kid, uh, said, um, if your dad is mad at you and he says to you, do I look stupid? Don't answer him. Just let it. So life is just from the [00:03:00] time. We're little to the time we're literally dead. We're just trying to put pieces together. We're trying to make sense. I think it's a fair statement to say that, uh, we all only know a certain number of things about a certain number of things. Let that soak in. We all only know a certain number of things about a certain number of things. There are certain things that you're really knowledgeable about. There's things you just, you got them down. Cool. You really understand them, but it's really hard to understand. And, and so, uh, there are certain, you know, there's just certain fields that we just go. I just don't know that much about that. And that's normal. In fact, uh, it was will Rogers, who said this? He said everybody is ignorant only on different subjects. Everyone's ignorant to the subject we're talking about. We're not all ignorant about the same subject. Some somebody else said this, a 51% of being smart is knowing where you're dumb. That's just great. 51% of being smart as knowing where you're dumb. All right. Now here's what I want to [00:04:00] spend a moment. I want to explain that in the world we live in, there are people who you expect to put pieces together really well, and that you, um, you would just trust they're an expert in that field and they would know what they're talking about except life doesn't always quite work that way now, again, stay I'm taking this for a reason. All right. History records on one field computers to unbelievable quotes have been recorded from people who should know differently. Uh, one was from a guy named Ken Olson, who was the president of, uh, digital equipment court. And, uh, this is what he said. He said there is no reason for any individual to have a computer in there. It's like, did you not see, could you not foresee what was happening? And the answer is no, but the most famous misquote, uh, as far as computers go is from Thomas Watson, who was chairman of IBM. And he said this statement, I think there is a world market [00:05:00] for about five computers and you look back and see these things are a locked in time. Now, people who opt to know better because you only know a certain thing, a certain number of things about a certain number of. And the rest. You're just trying to trust people around you right now. Um, if you've been with us in the last month here, you know, that we've been studying through the book of Galatians and I, I'm not going to take us through the book of Galatians today. We'll pick that back up next week. But, but what the book talks about and what we're going to talk about today, absolutely go together. Now, the book of Galatians is a new Testament book in the Bible, and you might or might not be familiar with this when we give you a quick explanation, there's two parts to your Bible. What's called the old. And the new Testament, the new Testament begins at the birth of Jesus and goes forward. Old Testament is everything before that, but in the new Testament, For biographies of Jesus and then there's letters to churches. The book of Galatians is one of the books and by the way, the total of 66 books combined to make the Bible. All right. [00:06:00] So this is one of the 66 books it's called the book of Galatians in any way. Um, it's a letter that the apostle Paul wrote to churches in a region called Glacia in which he was trying to get them to understand something because he was happening is that they didn't. They, they, they were not putting the pieces together and they were making a mistake. So he writes this letter to try to get them to understand something. But here's the reason I want to talk about that today. The mistake that they were making is a mistake that I see people make all of the. I've been a pastor for 40 some years. I've had a lot of go arounds is with people and trying to explain God and help people to get it okay. And figure it out. But, but here's, here's a common thing that they were struggling with. Then I see people struggle with all the time. It's very, very common. It is. It is one of the easiest things to get wrong about God. And here's the point I want to make. If Thomas Watson and Ken Olson, get that much wrong about a computer, could you get something wrong? And this was, of course you could, this [00:07:00] is what most people get wrong about God. Most people think that, um, if you were to decide to follow Jesus, if you were to decide to surrender control of your life to Jesus, what you would be doing is putting on a weight, picking on a burden instead of taking off a weight and casting away a burden. That the idea is is that if I. If I were to invite Jesus into my life, what would happen is it would, I would lose something. Not that I would gain something. And this happens in people's minds all the time. And I just want to say, I think I got that wrong. I think you got it wrong. It's the idea that no, it's a loss. If I commit my life to Christ, something's going to, I'm going to get, I'm going to go backward. Betsy, you don't it. W w what do you think you're going to lose? And this is what people say. I think I'm going to lose my. I think I'm going to lose my freedom and I didn't want to laugh and go lose your freedom. It's the idea that if I, if I were to follow Jesus, it would be like putting on a straight jacket and I would lose. I want [00:08:00] you to understand something and I just, you can trust me on this or not. That's not the way it works. In fact, I would say it this way, if you've ever been backpacking and you have ever, and I mean, backpacking, I mean, like, you know, you got 70 pounds on your back and you're going on a long hike and you're camping. You're lugging everything on your back. If you have ever had a pack that heavy on your back, hiked up a hill with it, got to the top, take the, taking the pack off. There was an experience you have that once you've experienced it, you'll never forget it. And if you've done it, you know exactly what I'm talking about. When that pack comes off your back, there is an utter feeling of like weightlessness. Like all of a sudden this pack comes off your back, that you've been hauling for the last two hours. And you feel like you could float from mountain top to. Like you literally, you could walk on air. That is what coming to Jesus should feel like. But for a lot of people, it's not, it's just not that feeling. It's I think I got it. I've got to do all these things and I've lost a lot and now I'm going to, and I just [00:09:00] want to go, I don't think we're understanding what, uh, what this is all about. So I want to explain today as best as I know how, why this. Is the day. That's the most important day. Now, I don't know in your life, what you would consider the most important day. Most people would say that in a given year, the most important day is your birthday. We celebrate my birthday. It's a big day, a special day. It's the most important day. And your birthday is important. I'm not playing that down. Uh, some would argue, no, no, it's actually Jesus's birthday. That Christmas is the greatest day on the calendar. It's Christmas. I want to say this and I don't mean this in any derogatory. The most important day of the year is not your birthday. Don't, don't take it personally. And it's not Jesus's birthday. It's not Jesus. The most important day is this day, this day that we're celebrating. This is the most important thing. This is the day that we celebrate that Jesus rose from the dead. This is the day that we celebrate that Jesus conquered the grave. This is the day that we [00:10:00] celebrate the forgiveness of sins becomes possible. This is the day that we celebrate that the devil lushes grip. That's why this day is so important. Now I want to say this. This is the day you need to understand you were set free and the weight should have come off. I want to say this though. Um, this is the day now listen carefully that dead people come to life. Now you might be thinking of physically dead. I want to say to you, you don't have to be physically dead to be dead. You don't have. You can be physically alive and everything else in your life is dead. And you know, it, everything inside is dead. It's just, I'm just, I'm, I'm literally waiting for the physical to catch up with my state of mind. I'm just, I'm just existing. Uh, you, you can die long before you're dead, but see, on this day, if you understand what happened on this day, this is the day that everything goes from black and white. [00:11:00] If you understand what this day is all about. It's the day of transformation. This is the day where the despair goes away. This is the day with a hope comes in. This is the day that everything is transformed. It's the most important day of all. I want to show it to you this way. Uh, Paul, the apostle said it this way to the church in Corinth. He said for what I received, I pass onto you as of first importance. What does that mean? There is nothing more important. There's nothing more significant. There's nothing more. Life-changing, there's nothing more. Impacting this day, we're celebrating as a first importance. And what is this day that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures that he was buried and that he was raised on the third day, according to the scriptures and all of this happened by the way, just so you know, by God's design, this is another thing people get wrong. A lot of people think Jesus got murdered in the sense of like snuck up on him and they didn't see them coming and they executed them. From the very beginning, there was a [00:12:00] plan and this was the plan. Jesus was born as planned. Jesus grew up as planned. He lived to be 33, by the way, as far as we understand it, it was at that point, uh, that last three years of his life, he was involved with a ministry with people, teaching people about why. You start to understand why he came was because God became a man and it was hard to get your brain around. I got it. All right. But God literally became one of us and he walked among us so that he could understand and we're late. And there's no question that he gets it. All right. Uh, but then they, they crucified him. Now you go, whoa. The worst thing is that Chris had no, no, no. The crucifixion had a reason and it involves you is very personal. And had that not happened. I couldn't say to you what I'm going to say to you. Which is your sins could be forgiven. And it doesn't mean they're going to be forgiven by the way. It's a very important distinction. I mean, to say, could be forgiven, but because it's not like I don't have to do [00:13:00] anything. No, you have to do something. You need to respond. You need to get it. And if you, if you respond, then I can say your sentence. Can't, you know, they're going to be forgiven. It's an incredible thing. Jesus was crucified. He was buried. And guess what? Everyone thought it was over, but it wasn't over. He rose him. They didn't know what happened in that first morning, by the way is they went to, they went to get his body. I mean, they went to anoint his body and he was gone. And so immediately the rumor started where they stole, they stole his body, but here's the deal. Uh, if that would have been the end of the story, that rumor would have continued down to the state. Somebody just stole his body, but here's what you need to understand. He appeared to 500. In-person after they killed them. This is the reason that this thing that we're celebrating 2000 years later is still celebrated 2000 years later. It wasn't a rumor. If they could have it done, if they could have produced the dead body, if they could have done that, this would never have happened. If they could just say it was just [00:14:00] a, it was a stolen thing. And a bunch of people just took it. They wouldn't do this, but here's what you need to understand is he was seeing. And here's what I believe with all my heart. He's alive. He's in this room right now. It's the. And I need you to understand something, uh, that, that means that just as he conquered death, just as he conquered the grave, just as he overcame that, which seemed to overcome him, he's showing you, you can too. And your future doesn't have to be more of the past. I want to show you this Hebrews chapter two, it says this since the children, which is you and me are made of flesh and blood it's logic. Uh, that the savior took on flesh and blood in order to rescue them by his death, by embracing death, taking it to himself, he destroyed the devil's hold on death and freed the key. There's the word? Free freed all who cower through life, scared to death of death. [00:15:00] And in fact, I think it would not be too simple to say this. If there's three words, That sum up Easter. If there's three words that you should always think about when you think of Easter, if there's three words that make Easter make the most sense, these three words would be these three words. This changes everything. This changes everything. And let me just spend a moment. Let me explain this three words. What's this, this is this thing we're celebrating the death, burial and resurrection of. This first Easter, what happened on that first Easter, this changes everything, but it started with a cross. Let me ask you a question just in your life. If you could go back in time, can you remember your first encounter with the cross, the first experience you've ever had in your life, where you saw a cross and you probably had no understanding of it, but the first can you, can you see in your mind's eye, the first cross or one that goes way back in your life? I, I very, very clearly remember. Uh, this is what happened to me. All right. I'll just tell you the story. So I was in the [00:16:00] second grade, second or third grade somewhere there, and I grew up without a dad. All right. And so my mom, I have an older sister and my mom not much older, but an older sister and my, my mom had a single mom. She had to take care of us by herself. And so every afternoon when we came home from school, she had hired a kind of a. That would take care of us until she got home and this person would clean our house in the afternoon and put dinner on the table and all that kind of stuff. One day I did something now I clearly remember what I did. And, uh, I'm not going to tell you what I did, but I was in the wrong, I did something stupid. I did something really bad and, uh, I I've confessed it to God and I'm just going to call that good. All right. And so you don't get. But, uh, I provoked her to anger. All right. Now, obviously I got to own that I did something, but her response caught me off guard. [00:17:00] She was so mad that she took a yardstick and headed for me. I didn't know what to do. I did. The only thing I could think of to do, and that is to run. And so I ran, I ran out the front. I was totally surprised to see her follow me. I got to the street and I was so surprised to see her following me. I didn't know what to do. So I did. The only thing I could think of, which is run. And so I ran, I ran to the end of our block. I was totally surprised to see she was behind me at the end of this block, there was a busy street. I picked my way, like Frogger across the street. I made it I'm thought surely that would stop her. No crazy ladies behind me with. And I'm running as fast as I can and she's behind me, but I'm not gaining. I mean, I'm not making, so, um, there was a building there that I had never been in before. I never been to a church before it was a Catholic church. And, uh, I don't know why I thought this, but I thought I could S I could still [00:18:00] see in my mind's eye, the big wooden doors in the front of it. And I, I thought I'm going to try the door and I, to my surprise, gay Catholic. Yeah, they keep, you know, it was open. And, uh, I, I remember going inside and I remember seeing all the votive candles again, this was towards evening and all of these candles were burning. I have no idea why these candles are burning. And then I see there's a room beyond that room that was like a lobby of four four-year. And I'm counting the seconds before, you know, she catches up with me. So I decided to get out of this room where it's the light and go into that room, which is mostly dark. And so I go flying into that. And then I see the door open and I do the only thing I know how to do, which is hide because what we do, we run and hide. And so I slid under some pews or benches or whatever they were. I don't know what they were, but I, I ducked underneath them. And then I remember looking underneath and seeing her walk in, I could see her feet walking in and, uh, I think the holy spirit [00:19:00] interceded on my behalf, because I think she walked into this Catholic church with a yard stick, ready to beat him. And if you realize it's probably not going to play out well for her eternity, I don't know. I'm not sure. And so she decided this is probably not going to be a good idea. So she turned around and walked out, unpacking praise God, which I didn't say, cause they didn't know how to do that. But I did have this sense of joy that she was leaving me alone. I came up and I looked around this. In a place I had never been before. And I saw stuff I had never seen before. I saw these windows that were stained glass, which were just gorgeous in the Twilight or, you know, uh, gorgeous. And then I saw these icons, these statues have any idea what they were about, but what I saw at the front is what forever changed me, what I saw at the front. I don't know how to describe this to you guys. So you're going to have to use your imagination because I saw something that I had never seen before, and it was really, really mind blowing. It was. I don't know how to say it. It was like a guy is like a, uh, a guy was like strung up on, I don't, I don't know how to explain that. He was like, he had his arm stretched out and [00:20:00] he was kind of pinned. It sounds weird. It was kind of pinned to this wooden thing. And this really Cepheus, his head was stilted. Any hat he had this really kind of sad look on his face and he had this thing on his head and was shoving and blood was coming. And then there was like this, this incredible, I don't know how it was. I'd like a cut. I don't know. And blood was coming out of it and he was hanging there. And here's what I need you to understand. I knew nothing about what I was looking at. I had not a clue, no context whatsoever scared me to death. And what I want to tell you is I ran out of that church faster than I had run into it. I ran home running away from him faster than I was running away from. And it was years later that I stopped running and I stopped and I turned around and I looked and I discovered something and I want to say this to you, heart, to heart. The cross will do you no good. [00:21:00] If you're running away from, it will only benefit you if you stop and you try to figure out what happened there, we don't all know everything about everything. We know certain things about certain things, but this is something you need to know about. You need to understand what happened. I know that, uh, the cross to a lot of people is it's a joke. I know that scripture says that, uh, the, uh, the unsaved, the ones who don't embrace it, say it's foolishness. I think it's they say like, well, how could one guy's death all those years ago in that one place, if that one time make any difference to the rest of us. If you see if it was just any man on any, you know, day of any place, you know, who this man was and what he did on that day and why in that place. And then you start to realize that this was on purpose. This was not an accidental death. This was very, very intentional and God was up to something. Um, this is.[00:22:00] The death, burial and resurrection changes. What's changes. That's the effect it transformed. When you understand what happened and you stop running and you stop and look at it and you embrace it, you start to see it changes everything. It changes. It transforms. In fact, let me make this say, I'll make this boldly, there were two things. Everybody in here is running away from me too. There's two things we're running away from. I've gotten to know you personally, but I guarantee you it's two things you're running away from. One is your. Now I can tell you how we're running away from our sin. We don't even want to call it sin anymore. That's how that's how much we're running away. We don't even want to acknowledge it. We don't want to say that's wrong, but deep down inside, we do know that's wrong. You do know that's wrong and you do know what you're doing. It's not an accident. You're doing it on paper, but what's happening is we're trying to convince ourselves that what that is is that. As if there are no consequences to that whatsoever, like we can do all of that and it will never catch up with us. But deep down [00:23:00] inside, there's a fear. What if it does? What if when you die, there is a judgment. What if when you die, you will stand before God. What if you will be held accountable and that ought to cause you to pause. The second thing we're all running away from is death. You're running away from death. I'm running away. You don't want to die. I don't want to die. We were scared to death of death. Uh, you, you, you know, the only time in our culture you'll ever hear anyone talk about death, pay attention, follow this, see, it would be like a church on Easter, maybe, but at a funeral now, can I point out something at a funeral there's never been a funeral you've ever wanted to go to, and if you have, you need to go get help. Okay. But there's never been a funeral you wanted to go through, you know, we don't want it. I don't want to go to funerals. I'm only going to go to a funeral because death invaded my. Somebody important to me, somebody who's in my family, somebody I can't, and I'm going to go to the funeral, but let's be honest. We don't want to go. We don't want to go. [00:24:00] Nobody gets excited to go, Hey, Saturday two funerals today. Woo. It's gonna be a great day. No, it's never. Yeah. Get dressed. And you go and you just go, let's go do this. But you know what happens at a funeral that never happens. You stop for a moment and you think of. You think about where this is all leading. You see that person in that casket up front and maybe walked by at the beginning and the preacher gets up or whoever's, you know, and they tell stories about this guy, and then they start telling you about what all matters in life. And for the first time in the last year, the first time in a couple of years, the first time, this decade, first time, this, whatever you start thinking about your future, you're going to end up just like that guy. And you do everything you need to put that thought out of your. Just like we do everything we can do to get sin put out of our mind. Here's what I need you to understand why this day is such an important day. This day, defeats both those fears. You see this as the day, you could be forgiven for [00:25:00] all that stuff you're running away from. This is the day that you can actually put the fear of death behind you, because this is the day that you can change eternal. By making a decision to align yourself with God. Because what we do is when we know we've done wrong, we do exactly what I've been talking about. We run and we hide. In fact, I'll tell you a story. This happened a number of years ago, it happened, it was reported in USA. Today is about a, I think a 19 year old kid in Denmark. He was driving his car. He went through a zone that was monitored by flash photography. And, uh, you know, and everybody knows what I'm talking about here. So he goes through this own, it's a 50 mile an hour zone. She's the flash go off, which means he's got his picture taken. He looks down at his speedometer who was going 68 and began to be afraid of the consequences of the error of what he had just done. So he went home and he thought about it and he came up with a plan. His plan was, I'm going to go and I'm going to, I'm going to go, I'm going to go break into that camera and get, and I don't know if it was film or digital, I don't know, [00:26:00] but I'm going to get the guts out of that thing. I'm going to be, he couldn't get into it though. He tried and tried. Couldn't get. He went back home and he was scheming some more can he do about this? And he got a friend of his to kind of be an accomplished and they, this true story, they wouldn't hire the heist. Did the camera on the pole then bolted it. They literally removed it. Now you're carrying around the camera and a pole. Well, you got to do with that. So when he came up with a plan, we got to ditch it. So they decided to throw it into the ocean. They threw it in the, I don't know if it stood up when they threw I'd have no idea, but they could see. And they're going well, this is not good. So they decided to go home and get wetsuits, and they're going to come back and they're going to drag that sucker farther out. It was then that the police saw what they were doing and arrested them. Now here's what happened. Both of them went to jail. Uh, the one that got the ticket had also to go to jail and pay a $17,900. Fine. Here's the point? The ticket would have only been [00:27:00] $450. It's just a picture of what we do. We run and we height. You need to understand, you don't need to run and hide anymore because this day changes everything. Let me read a couple of passages, Romans 3 23, for all hips in you are included in the all. Now. Most of us not, Hey y'all if sin, no, all have sinned. I've sinned. You sinned. We've all sinned. And we fall short of the glory of God. And all are justified freely by his grace. You have the absolute opportunity of being set free from your sin and your, and that, and the wages of sin is death, by the way. So they're all combined, but you got to understand God's going, I'll take rid of, of taking away all of that, uh, freely justified by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus, God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement payment through the shedding of his blood to be received by faith. That's your. He's done everything to bless you. Your part is to receive that and welcome it. I love Isaiah 53, 6. It [00:28:00] says we all like sheep have gone astray. Each of us has turned to our own way. God caused our iniquity to fall on him. That's awesome. Awesome news. So this is the cross, the death burial and resurrection changes is the effect. Everything is the scope changes everything, but the coolest thing I can tell you about. It's for every one. You see, what I love about this is this is not a target audience guide this and say, if you fit this particular demographic, you will be blessed if you fit this demographic, I will love you. No, no, no. It's for everyone. This is wide open and this is incredible. One of the verses I love to read around here with John three 16 and 17. Cause I don't know how many times you see it. I still don't think we quite get it for God. So loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish. But have eternal life. You want to know why God did this. He didn't send his son into the world to condemn you. He said he did it to set you free to save you. It changes everything. [00:29:00] So let me put it in and focus. Nothing on this planet. Over the history of this planet has happened of greater importance than what happened 2000 years ago. On this day, that was. There's no more important. There's no more significant. There's nothing that tops, nothing that is like of greater. It is absolutely the most important thing. I don't have to stand up here and try to make the truth of this relevant. It's incredibly relevant because we need badly what got offered us on the cross more than ever as we've drifted farther and farther away, and God's done it for us. And if you're still, aren't quite seeing what I'm trying to. Let me make sure you get it because of what happened on that first Easter, your sins can be forgiven. Your guilt can be removed. Your purpose could be clarified. Your hope could be revived. Your direction can be established. Your weaknesses can be overcome. Your relationships can be restored. [00:30:00] Your future can be secured. I gotta use the word can, could might, because it's not gonna happen. If you don't respond. And there's no way I can get around that. It's offered to you. It's this incredible thing that God's, let me take off the backpack. Let me take off the weight, but he's not going to rip it off your back. You shall render you surrender it by your will and your choice. So I started this message by telling you about some funny things that kids said. I want to close this message by telling you about, uh, Letter, not a letter. It's it sounds like a letter, but it's a, it's an assignment that an eight year old kid by the name of Danny Dutton from Chula Vista, California turned into his school. It's a third grade class. I don't know if it was a Christian school. I don't understand. I don't know the detail, but he was given the assignment, uh, explained God. Okay. Let's just stop right there. How [00:31:00] would you do explain God? Well, let me start here, you know, explain God. Well, let me just read to you part of what he wrote. I think it's fascinating. He said this. Um, well, one of God's being jobs is making people, he makes him to replace the ones that die. So there'll be enough people that take care of things on earth. He doesn't make grownups just. I think that's because they're smaller and easier to make. Um, that way he doesn't have to take up his valuable time, teaching them to talk and walk and all that stuff. He can just leave that to moms or dads got second, most important job is to listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on since some people like preachers and others pray at times beside bedtime. So God doesn't have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this, but because he hears everything and there must be a lot of a terrible lot of noise in his ears, unless he's figured out a way to turn it off. Now Jesus, he's got son. He used to do all the hard work, like walking on water and performing miracles and [00:32:00] trying to teach people who didn't want to learn about God. And they finally got tired of him preaching at them. So they crucified him, but he was good and kind like his father and told his father that they didn't know what they were doing and that he should forgive him. And so God did, God said, okay, now his dad, God appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth. So he told them he didn't have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in. So he did, um, this one, give some advice. Okay. He says, Hey, heads up, don't skip church. Uh, don't skip church to do something you think would be more fun, like going to the beach. That's just wrong. Besides the sun doesn't even come out of the beach until noon anyway, as well, going to church, then the last paragraph he says, all right, atheists or people who don't believe in God. Hey, these are people who don't believe in God. I don't think there are any in Chula Vista. At least there aren't any who come to our church. Uh, if you don't believe in God, [00:33:00] besides being an atheist, you're going to be very lonely, but because your parents can't go everywhere with you like the camp, but God can, it is good to know that he's around when you're scared in the dark or when you can't swim, you get thrown into the real deep water by big kids, but you shouldn't always think of what God can do. I figured God put me here and he can take me back anytime he pleases. And that's why I believe in God. I want to tell you something folks. I believe in God, I don't believe in God because he can take me out of here anytime he wants. I believe in God, because he took his son out of here on that day that we're celebrating today, that he literally caused us under to rise from there. This just changes every. Uh, because, uh, if I understand what's happening here and I think I do, uh, you know, the significance is not that the resurrection happened once it said it's going to happen again. It's going to happen to every one of you who received Jesus into your heart, the way God [00:34:00] intended it. Every one of you and me who let God take the weight off. It is going to live forever. In fact, Jesus said it this way to me last, last verse. I want to share John 1125 says this. Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die. And whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Now I've got to tell you, I believe that I believe that. God explained it and Jesus verified it and my own life confirms it because I've experienced. And I don't believe because I'm afraid of God, I believe because I've seen what Jesus does in a life. And what I want to do right now is I want to explain to you that God did this for you. He didn't do this burn. You, he did this to take a burden away from. And I don't know if you've ever connected this. Let me make sure. Okay. We'll [00:35:00] only know a certain number of things about a certain number of things you ever notice how Easter changes every year to a different date, but Christmas is always on the 25th of July. Well, why, why is that? It's a complicated formula and I don't want to take the time to explain it. It has to do with the moon. It has to do with Passover. It has to do with religion. All of that is all tied in. Okay. But here's what you need to understand. You know, what? It never changes about Easter, even though it changes every year, you know what? It never changes about Easter. It always, always, always comes in the springtime and follows winter. You're never going to have an Easter that is not there because see the point of Easter is that the death and the desolation. Despair and the darkness and the coldness of winter. It doesn't last that there is new life. There's a new beginning. There's a fresh start and it's hugely significant. And I just need you to understand that could be for you today. That is why God did this. [00:36:00] If you were today years old, before you ever heard or understood it was. It was for you now we're going to do two things. Let me do the first thing. First, when you walked in, you were given a little communion chalice. Let me just spend a moment to explain a couple of things here. What's going on with this. Um, we've talked about, you know, freedom is never free. There's always a price to freedom. This represents the price of this pain to set you free from your sin to set you free from your death to set you free from your fear. This was. Uh, Jesus did on the cross. This is what we remember. We go back 2000 years to the cross and what an incredible day that some Memphis, and we understand that, uh, Jesus gave his body that he gave his body when taken. He gave it for you. And so this bread, so we're going to open the. And take the bread out. This little wafer represents something of huge [00:37:00] significance that it was his body that they mingled and they hung him on a cross and he did it for you. He could have stopped it. So we take this and we go. If you know the story and what they did to him, they beat him mercilessly. They are, they literally, they whipped them shredded back. They shoved that. Thorns on his head. Literally just imagine the piercing pain of that. They put his hands in his feet. They pinned him to a cross. It's like a spear in his side, dragged it out as long as they could take it. By the way, this death by crucifixion was the cruelest in the Romans could be. It is so cruel that they have to come up with a word that matches the pain [00:38:00] of a crucifixion. Therefore, in our English language, we say it's excruciating out of the cross. It's excruciating painful this blood, which is not blood. This is the fruit of the vine to bind us. The blood was shed. This was not free. This was not painless, but this. Represents the blood that was shed to set you free. Let's take, just a moment. Oh, I'm going to ask you to stand and I'm going to pray. We're not done. Please. Don't leave. This is on all of our campuses. What we're going to do here. I just cannot not do what we're about to do. And that is to say this, if you're here today and you were today years old, then all of a sudden it sorta makes sense. Greatest day of your life. Just to happen. [00:39:00] I'm going to give you an opportunity to receive Jesus into your heart. It's not mine to give, but on behalf of God, I just want to lead you to a different life. If you want it. You understand what's going on here? Uh, Jesus stands at your door. He's knocking, he's knocking at the door and, um, he's knocking at the door and he is basically saying, um, would you let me in, would you let me in? And he's not going to kick your door down. That's what you need to understand. He doesn't have force. He's not going to kidnap you. So I'm gonna. But there's this moment in time where you're invited to open the door and that's what we're going to do right now. I'm going to open the door for you. I'm going to invite you to open the door and be more accurate. And if you know that you need Jesus, I'm just, we're going to [00:40:00] stand and we're going to sing a song and we're going to just give you time to find your way forward. Here. There should be some folks out in front here that'll meet you. And this will happen again on all of our campuses and online. You let us know and we'll be there. But here, here's what I'm asking you to do. I'm asking you to do the hardest thing in your life, and that is identify with Jesus. What I've tried to show you today is how much he's identified with you. You identify with Jesus. Say I I'm gonna, I'm gonna public publicly and acknowledge I believe in Jesus. And here's what I need you to understand. All right, listen, very carefully. The most important thing I'm going to send with this. This day is the greatest day in your life. If, if you respond, if you don't the changes, nothing for you, nothing you don't walk out of here. You're going to walk out of there. You're going to walk exactly like you came in and nothing's going to be. [00:41:00] You don't have the weight on your back. You going to be running, you going to be fleeing. You've been hiding and be scheming, renew new, all that stuff. You just keep doing it where it could change everything, but you have to respond. So I'm going to ask you all again. I'm asking not to leave, but stand up. Let me pray. They're going to lead us in a song and I want to invite you to come forward. Um, no, one's going to stick a mic in your hand, in your hand. No, one's gonna make you say anything. Okay. We're just gonna have some folks down here that are gonna greet you and welcome you. So if you want to do that, let's pray father, thank you for this. Thank you for what it means. God, I pray that you help us to understand the not going to force yourself in. You're not going to take the pack off our back in a, strip it up. But God, we can surrender it to you. We can offer it to you. We can say, and we can cast this care, this burden, this pain on you, and you'll gladly take it, but we have to, we have to be the one that's [00:42:00] says we surrender. So what I do pray that right now, people would surrender do what you do. Change lives. We know the cross changes. Everything changed the lives. Now, father, I pray in Jesus name. Amen. If
✖ CLOSE

[00:00:00] Well, it was dark there for a moment. Hey, good morning, everyone. And welcome. I want to welcome all of you who are with us here. Uh, I'm on the Gilbert campus. Uh, seriously, great to have you all here, but all across the valley and the different campuses, we want you to know you're on our mind, you're in our hearts. Also, those of you who are watching this online and experiencing it at home, uh, we are thinking about you as well, but my name is Cal I'm the lead pastor here and on behalf of all of us, man, I just want to express our gratitude that you're here. It might be your first time. It might be your 4000th time. Uh, but it makes a difference to us that you showed up. And I just want to say that. All right. All right. Uh, so there's an expression going around these days. You've probably heard it. Uh, I don't know where it originated from, but it's this expression? Well, I was today years old. And then they'll say something. And what they're saying is I was today years old before I figured something out. And then they'll say something that should have been self-evident, but for whatever reason, they never got the message. So I was like, in an example, I was today years old before I, I [00:01:00] figured out that this little piggy went to market. Didn't go shopping. It didn't go shot. Oh, oh, it got slaughtered. I. I I've always started with shopping. And so I was today years old and, uh, all of our life, we spend trying to connect dots, making sense out of things. This starts when you're just a little kid as a little kid, you're just trying to put pieces together. You're trying to gain wisdom. You're trying to understand how the world works and little kids. If you listen to them, they say funny. Uh, in fact, somebody captured just, I I've got just a handful of, uh, just kind of funny things that kids figured out. All right. Like one kid said this, uh, these are young kids. Uh, Patrick said never trusted dog to watch your food. How do you discover that? That's a bad idea. You let your dog watch your food, and then you realize that doesn't work. Uh, Naomi came up with this one, if you want, if you want a kitten start with asking for a whore. [00:02:00] That's just great wisdom. Another kid figured out that no matter how many tic Tacs you feed a dog, it won't make us breath better. My favorite one is from a little girl named Eileen. She says, never try to baptize a cat. Now that's a bad idea, but how you discover it's a bad idea is you do what you're trying, you know, and you go, that's just dumb. I won't ever do that again. I'll also find it entertaining how kids figure out like with their parents. As they're learning how to navigate with their parents. And one little girl at Talia, she said this, um, when your mom is mad at your dad, don't ever let her brush her hair and you can just see it. Right. You can just see the anger, you know, and, uh, another little kid, uh, said, um, if your dad is mad at you and he says to you, do I look stupid? Don't answer him. Just let it. So life is just from the [00:03:00] time. We're little to the time we're literally dead. We're just trying to put pieces together. We're trying to make sense. I think it's a fair statement to say that, uh, we all only know a certain number of things about a certain number of things. Let that soak in. We all only know a certain number of things about a certain number of things. There are certain things that you're really knowledgeable about. There's things you just, you got them down. Cool. You really understand them, but it's really hard to understand. And, and so, uh, there are certain, you know, there's just certain fields that we just go. I just don't know that much about that. And that's normal. In fact, uh, it was will Rogers, who said this? He said everybody is ignorant only on different subjects. Everyone's ignorant to the subject we're talking about. We're not all ignorant about the same subject. Some somebody else said this, a 51% of being smart is knowing where you're dumb. That's just great. 51% of being smart as knowing where you're dumb. All right. Now here's what I want to [00:04:00] spend a moment. I want to explain that in the world we live in, there are people who you expect to put pieces together really well, and that you, um, you would just trust they're an expert in that field and they would know what they're talking about except life doesn't always quite work that way now, again, stay I'm taking this for a reason. All right. History records on one field computers to unbelievable quotes have been recorded from people who should know differently. Uh, one was from a guy named Ken Olson, who was the president of, uh, digital equipment court. And, uh, this is what he said. He said there is no reason for any individual to have a computer in there. It's like, did you not see, could you not foresee what was happening? And the answer is no, but the most famous misquote, uh, as far as computers go is from Thomas Watson, who was chairman of IBM. And he said this statement, I think there is a world market [00:05:00] for about five computers and you look back and see these things are a locked in time. Now, people who opt to know better because you only know a certain thing, a certain number of things about a certain number of. And the rest. You're just trying to trust people around you right now. Um, if you've been with us in the last month here, you know, that we've been studying through the book of Galatians and I, I'm not going to take us through the book of Galatians today. We'll pick that back up next week. But, but what the book talks about and what we're going to talk about today, absolutely go together. Now, the book of Galatians is a new Testament book in the Bible, and you might or might not be familiar with this when we give you a quick explanation, there's two parts to your Bible. What's called the old. And the new Testament, the new Testament begins at the birth of Jesus and goes forward. Old Testament is everything before that, but in the new Testament, For biographies of Jesus and then there's letters to churches. The book of Galatians is one of the books and by the way, the total of 66 books combined to make the Bible. All right. [00:06:00] So this is one of the 66 books it's called the book of Galatians in any way. Um, it's a letter that the apostle Paul wrote to churches in a region called Glacia in which he was trying to get them to understand something because he was happening is that they didn't. They, they, they were not putting the pieces together and they were making a mistake. So he writes this letter to try to get them to understand something. But here's the reason I want to talk about that today. The mistake that they were making is a mistake that I see people make all of the. I've been a pastor for 40 some years. I've had a lot of go arounds is with people and trying to explain God and help people to get it okay. And figure it out. But, but here's, here's a common thing that they were struggling with. Then I see people struggle with all the time. It's very, very common. It is. It is one of the easiest things to get wrong about God. And here's the point I want to make. If Thomas Watson and Ken Olson, get that much wrong about a computer, could you get something wrong? And this was, of course you could, this [00:07:00] is what most people get wrong about God. Most people think that, um, if you were to decide to follow Jesus, if you were to decide to surrender control of your life to Jesus, what you would be doing is putting on a weight, picking on a burden instead of taking off a weight and casting away a burden. That the idea is is that if I. If I were to invite Jesus into my life, what would happen is it would, I would lose something. Not that I would gain something. And this happens in people's minds all the time. And I just want to say, I think I got that wrong. I think you got it wrong. It's the idea that no, it's a loss. If I commit my life to Christ, something's going to, I'm going to get, I'm going to go backward. Betsy, you don't it. W w what do you think you're going to lose? And this is what people say. I think I'm going to lose my. I think I'm going to lose my freedom and I didn't want to laugh and go lose your freedom. It's the idea that if I, if I were to follow Jesus, it would be like putting on a straight jacket and I would lose. I want [00:08:00] you to understand something and I just, you can trust me on this or not. That's not the way it works. In fact, I would say it this way, if you've ever been backpacking and you have ever, and I mean, backpacking, I mean, like, you know, you got 70 pounds on your back and you're going on a long hike and you're camping. You're lugging everything on your back. If you have ever had a pack that heavy on your back, hiked up a hill with it, got to the top, take the, taking the pack off. There was an experience you have that once you've experienced it, you'll never forget it. And if you've done it, you know exactly what I'm talking about. When that pack comes off your back, there is an utter feeling of like weightlessness. Like all of a sudden this pack comes off your back, that you've been hauling for the last two hours. And you feel like you could float from mountain top to. Like you literally, you could walk on air. That is what coming to Jesus should feel like. But for a lot of people, it's not, it's just not that feeling. It's I think I got it. I've got to do all these things and I've lost a lot and now I'm going to, and I just [00:09:00] want to go, I don't think we're understanding what, uh, what this is all about. So I want to explain today as best as I know how, why this. Is the day. That's the most important day. Now, I don't know in your life, what you would consider the most important day. Most people would say that in a given year, the most important day is your birthday. We celebrate my birthday. It's a big day, a special day. It's the most important day. And your birthday is important. I'm not playing that down. Uh, some would argue, no, no, it's actually Jesus's birthday. That Christmas is the greatest day on the calendar. It's Christmas. I want to say this and I don't mean this in any derogatory. The most important day of the year is not your birthday. Don't, don't take it personally. And it's not Jesus's birthday. It's not Jesus. The most important day is this day, this day that we're celebrating. This is the most important thing. This is the day that we celebrate that Jesus rose from the dead. This is the day that we celebrate that Jesus conquered the grave. This is the day that we [00:10:00] celebrate the forgiveness of sins becomes possible. This is the day that we celebrate that the devil lushes grip. That's why this day is so important. Now I want to say this. This is the day you need to understand you were set free and the weight should have come off. I want to say this though. Um, this is the day now listen carefully that dead people come to life. Now you might be thinking of physically dead. I want to say to you, you don't have to be physically dead to be dead. You don't have. You can be physically alive and everything else in your life is dead. And you know, it, everything inside is dead. It's just, I'm just, I'm, I'm literally waiting for the physical to catch up with my state of mind. I'm just, I'm just existing. Uh, you, you can die long before you're dead, but see, on this day, if you understand what happened on this day, this is the day that everything goes from black and white. [00:11:00] If you understand what this day is all about. It's the day of transformation. This is the day where the despair goes away. This is the day with a hope comes in. This is the day that everything is transformed. It's the most important day of all. I want to show it to you this way. Uh, Paul, the apostle said it this way to the church in Corinth. He said for what I received, I pass onto you as of first importance. What does that mean? There is nothing more important. There's nothing more significant. There's nothing more. Life-changing, there's nothing more. Impacting this day, we're celebrating as a first importance. And what is this day that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures that he was buried and that he was raised on the third day, according to the scriptures and all of this happened by the way, just so you know, by God's design, this is another thing people get wrong. A lot of people think Jesus got murdered in the sense of like snuck up on him and they didn't see them coming and they executed them. From the very beginning, there was a [00:12:00] plan and this was the plan. Jesus was born as planned. Jesus grew up as planned. He lived to be 33, by the way, as far as we understand it, it was at that point, uh, that last three years of his life, he was involved with a ministry with people, teaching people about why. You start to understand why he came was because God became a man and it was hard to get your brain around. I got it. All right. But God literally became one of us and he walked among us so that he could understand and we're late. And there's no question that he gets it. All right. Uh, but then they, they crucified him. Now you go, whoa. The worst thing is that Chris had no, no, no. The crucifixion had a reason and it involves you is very personal. And had that not happened. I couldn't say to you what I'm going to say to you. Which is your sins could be forgiven. And it doesn't mean they're going to be forgiven by the way. It's a very important distinction. I mean, to say, could be forgiven, but because it's not like I don't have to do [00:13:00] anything. No, you have to do something. You need to respond. You need to get it. And if you, if you respond, then I can say your sentence. Can't, you know, they're going to be forgiven. It's an incredible thing. Jesus was crucified. He was buried. And guess what? Everyone thought it was over, but it wasn't over. He rose him. They didn't know what happened in that first morning, by the way is they went to, they went to get his body. I mean, they went to anoint his body and he was gone. And so immediately the rumor started where they stole, they stole his body, but here's the deal. Uh, if that would have been the end of the story, that rumor would have continued down to the state. Somebody just stole his body, but here's what you need to understand. He appeared to 500. In-person after they killed them. This is the reason that this thing that we're celebrating 2000 years later is still celebrated 2000 years later. It wasn't a rumor. If they could have it done, if they could have produced the dead body, if they could have done that, this would never have happened. If they could just say it was just [00:14:00] a, it was a stolen thing. And a bunch of people just took it. They wouldn't do this, but here's what you need to understand is he was seeing. And here's what I believe with all my heart. He's alive. He's in this room right now. It's the. And I need you to understand something, uh, that, that means that just as he conquered death, just as he conquered the grave, just as he overcame that, which seemed to overcome him, he's showing you, you can too. And your future doesn't have to be more of the past. I want to show you this Hebrews chapter two, it says this since the children, which is you and me are made of flesh and blood it's logic. Uh, that the savior took on flesh and blood in order to rescue them by his death, by embracing death, taking it to himself, he destroyed the devil's hold on death and freed the key. There's the word? Free freed all who cower through life, scared to death of death. [00:15:00] And in fact, I think it would not be too simple to say this. If there's three words, That sum up Easter. If there's three words that you should always think about when you think of Easter, if there's three words that make Easter make the most sense, these three words would be these three words. This changes everything. This changes everything. And let me just spend a moment. Let me explain this three words. What's this, this is this thing we're celebrating the death, burial and resurrection of. This first Easter, what happened on that first Easter, this changes everything, but it started with a cross. Let me ask you a question just in your life. If you could go back in time, can you remember your first encounter with the cross, the first experience you've ever had in your life, where you saw a cross and you probably had no understanding of it, but the first can you, can you see in your mind's eye, the first cross or one that goes way back in your life? I, I very, very clearly remember. Uh, this is what happened to me. All right. I'll just tell you the story. So I was in the [00:16:00] second grade, second or third grade somewhere there, and I grew up without a dad. All right. And so my mom, I have an older sister and my mom not much older, but an older sister and my, my mom had a single mom. She had to take care of us by herself. And so every afternoon when we came home from school, she had hired a kind of a. That would take care of us until she got home and this person would clean our house in the afternoon and put dinner on the table and all that kind of stuff. One day I did something now I clearly remember what I did. And, uh, I'm not going to tell you what I did, but I was in the wrong, I did something stupid. I did something really bad and, uh, I I've confessed it to God and I'm just going to call that good. All right. And so you don't get. But, uh, I provoked her to anger. All right. Now, obviously I got to own that I did something, but her response caught me off guard. [00:17:00] She was so mad that she took a yardstick and headed for me. I didn't know what to do. I did. The only thing I could think of to do, and that is to run. And so I ran, I ran out the front. I was totally surprised to see her follow me. I got to the street and I was so surprised to see her following me. I didn't know what to do. So I did. The only thing I could think of, which is run. And so I ran, I ran to the end of our block. I was totally surprised to see she was behind me at the end of this block, there was a busy street. I picked my way, like Frogger across the street. I made it I'm thought surely that would stop her. No crazy ladies behind me with. And I'm running as fast as I can and she's behind me, but I'm not gaining. I mean, I'm not making, so, um, there was a building there that I had never been in before. I never been to a church before it was a Catholic church. And, uh, I don't know why I thought this, but I thought I could S I could still [00:18:00] see in my mind's eye, the big wooden doors in the front of it. And I, I thought I'm going to try the door and I, to my surprise, gay Catholic. Yeah, they keep, you know, it was open. And, uh, I, I remember going inside and I remember seeing all the votive candles again, this was towards evening and all of these candles were burning. I have no idea why these candles are burning. And then I see there's a room beyond that room that was like a lobby of four four-year. And I'm counting the seconds before, you know, she catches up with me. So I decided to get out of this room where it's the light and go into that room, which is mostly dark. And so I go flying into that. And then I see the door open and I do the only thing I know how to do, which is hide because what we do, we run and hide. And so I slid under some pews or benches or whatever they were. I don't know what they were, but I, I ducked underneath them. And then I remember looking underneath and seeing her walk in, I could see her feet walking in and, uh, I think the holy spirit [00:19:00] interceded on my behalf, because I think she walked into this Catholic church with a yard stick, ready to beat him. And if you realize it's probably not going to play out well for her eternity, I don't know. I'm not sure. And so she decided this is probably not going to be a good idea. So she turned around and walked out, unpacking praise God, which I didn't say, cause they didn't know how to do that. But I did have this sense of joy that she was leaving me alone. I came up and I looked around this. In a place I had never been before. And I saw stuff I had never seen before. I saw these windows that were stained glass, which were just gorgeous in the Twilight or, you know, uh, gorgeous. And then I saw these icons, these statues have any idea what they were about, but what I saw at the front is what forever changed me, what I saw at the front. I don't know how to describe this to you guys. So you're going to have to use your imagination because I saw something that I had never seen before, and it was really, really mind blowing. It was. I don't know how to say it. It was like a guy is like a, uh, a guy was like strung up on, I don't, I don't know how to explain that. He was like, he had his arm stretched out and [00:20:00] he was kind of pinned. It sounds weird. It was kind of pinned to this wooden thing. And this really Cepheus, his head was stilted. Any hat he had this really kind of sad look on his face and he had this thing on his head and was shoving and blood was coming. And then there was like this, this incredible, I don't know how it was. I'd like a cut. I don't know. And blood was coming out of it and he was hanging there. And here's what I need you to understand. I knew nothing about what I was looking at. I had not a clue, no context whatsoever scared me to death. And what I want to tell you is I ran out of that church faster than I had run into it. I ran home running away from him faster than I was running away from. And it was years later that I stopped running and I stopped and I turned around and I looked and I discovered something and I want to say this to you, heart, to heart. The cross will do you no good. [00:21:00] If you're running away from, it will only benefit you if you stop and you try to figure out what happened there, we don't all know everything about everything. We know certain things about certain things, but this is something you need to know about. You need to understand what happened. I know that, uh, the cross to a lot of people is it's a joke. I know that scripture says that, uh, the, uh, the unsaved, the ones who don't embrace it, say it's foolishness. I think it's they say like, well, how could one guy's death all those years ago in that one place, if that one time make any difference to the rest of us. If you see if it was just any man on any, you know, day of any place, you know, who this man was and what he did on that day and why in that place. And then you start to realize that this was on purpose. This was not an accidental death. This was very, very intentional and God was up to something. Um, this is.[00:22:00] The death, burial and resurrection changes. What's changes. That's the effect it transformed. When you understand what happened and you stop running and you stop and look at it and you embrace it, you start to see it changes everything. It changes. It transforms. In fact, let me make this say, I'll make this boldly, there were two things. Everybody in here is running away from me too. There's two things we're running away from. I've gotten to know you personally, but I guarantee you it's two things you're running away from. One is your. Now I can tell you how we're running away from our sin. We don't even want to call it sin anymore. That's how that's how much we're running away. We don't even want to acknowledge it. We don't want to say that's wrong, but deep down inside, we do know that's wrong. You do know that's wrong and you do know what you're doing. It's not an accident. You're doing it on paper, but what's happening is we're trying to convince ourselves that what that is is that. As if there are no consequences to that whatsoever, like we can do all of that and it will never catch up with us. But deep down [00:23:00] inside, there's a fear. What if it does? What if when you die, there is a judgment. What if when you die, you will stand before God. What if you will be held accountable and that ought to cause you to pause. The second thing we're all running away from is death. You're running away from death. I'm running away. You don't want to die. I don't want to die. We were scared to death of death. Uh, you, you, you know, the only time in our culture you'll ever hear anyone talk about death, pay attention, follow this, see, it would be like a church on Easter, maybe, but at a funeral now, can I point out something at a funeral there's never been a funeral you've ever wanted to go to, and if you have, you need to go get help. Okay. But there's never been a funeral you wanted to go through, you know, we don't want it. I don't want to go to funerals. I'm only going to go to a funeral because death invaded my. Somebody important to me, somebody who's in my family, somebody I can't, and I'm going to go to the funeral, but let's be honest. We don't want to go. We don't want to go. [00:24:00] Nobody gets excited to go, Hey, Saturday two funerals today. Woo. It's gonna be a great day. No, it's never. Yeah. Get dressed. And you go and you just go, let's go do this. But you know what happens at a funeral that never happens. You stop for a moment and you think of. You think about where this is all leading. You see that person in that casket up front and maybe walked by at the beginning and the preacher gets up or whoever's, you know, and they tell stories about this guy, and then they start telling you about what all matters in life. And for the first time in the last year, the first time in a couple of years, the first time, this decade, first time, this, whatever you start thinking about your future, you're going to end up just like that guy. And you do everything you need to put that thought out of your. Just like we do everything we can do to get sin put out of our mind. Here's what I need you to understand why this day is such an important day. This day, defeats both those fears. You see this as the day, you could be forgiven for [00:25:00] all that stuff you're running away from. This is the day that you can actually put the fear of death behind you, because this is the day that you can change eternal. By making a decision to align yourself with God. Because what we do is when we know we've done wrong, we do exactly what I've been talking about. We run and we hide. In fact, I'll tell you a story. This happened a number of years ago, it happened, it was reported in USA. Today is about a, I think a 19 year old kid in Denmark. He was driving his car. He went through a zone that was monitored by flash photography. And, uh, you know, and everybody knows what I'm talking about here. So he goes through this own, it's a 50 mile an hour zone. She's the flash go off, which means he's got his picture taken. He looks down at his speedometer who was going 68 and began to be afraid of the consequences of the error of what he had just done. So he went home and he thought about it and he came up with a plan. His plan was, I'm going to go and I'm going to, I'm going to go, I'm going to go break into that camera and get, and I don't know if it was film or digital, I don't know, [00:26:00] but I'm going to get the guts out of that thing. I'm going to be, he couldn't get into it though. He tried and tried. Couldn't get. He went back home and he was scheming some more can he do about this? And he got a friend of his to kind of be an accomplished and they, this true story, they wouldn't hire the heist. Did the camera on the pole then bolted it. They literally removed it. Now you're carrying around the camera and a pole. Well, you got to do with that. So when he came up with a plan, we got to ditch it. So they decided to throw it into the ocean. They threw it in the, I don't know if it stood up when they threw I'd have no idea, but they could see. And they're going well, this is not good. So they decided to go home and get wetsuits, and they're going to come back and they're going to drag that sucker farther out. It was then that the police saw what they were doing and arrested them. Now here's what happened. Both of them went to jail. Uh, the one that got the ticket had also to go to jail and pay a $17,900. Fine. Here's the point? The ticket would have only been [00:27:00] $450. It's just a picture of what we do. We run and we height. You need to understand, you don't need to run and hide anymore because this day changes everything. Let me read a couple of passages, Romans 3 23, for all hips in you are included in the all. Now. Most of us not, Hey y'all if sin, no, all have sinned. I've sinned. You sinned. We've all sinned. And we fall short of the glory of God. And all are justified freely by his grace. You have the absolute opportunity of being set free from your sin and your, and that, and the wages of sin is death, by the way. So they're all combined, but you got to understand God's going, I'll take rid of, of taking away all of that, uh, freely justified by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus, God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement payment through the shedding of his blood to be received by faith. That's your. He's done everything to bless you. Your part is to receive that and welcome it. I love Isaiah 53, 6. It [00:28:00] says we all like sheep have gone astray. Each of us has turned to our own way. God caused our iniquity to fall on him. That's awesome. Awesome news. So this is the cross, the death burial and resurrection changes is the effect. Everything is the scope changes everything, but the coolest thing I can tell you about. It's for every one. You see, what I love about this is this is not a target audience guide this and say, if you fit this particular demographic, you will be blessed if you fit this demographic, I will love you. No, no, no. It's for everyone. This is wide open and this is incredible. One of the verses I love to read around here with John three 16 and 17. Cause I don't know how many times you see it. I still don't think we quite get it for God. So loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish. But have eternal life. You want to know why God did this. He didn't send his son into the world to condemn you. He said he did it to set you free to save you. It changes everything. [00:29:00] So let me put it in and focus. Nothing on this planet. Over the history of this planet has happened of greater importance than what happened 2000 years ago. On this day, that was. There's no more important. There's no more significant. There's nothing that tops, nothing that is like of greater. It is absolutely the most important thing. I don't have to stand up here and try to make the truth of this relevant. It's incredibly relevant because we need badly what got offered us on the cross more than ever as we've drifted farther and farther away, and God's done it for us. And if you're still, aren't quite seeing what I'm trying to. Let me make sure you get it because of what happened on that first Easter, your sins can be forgiven. Your guilt can be removed. Your purpose could be clarified. Your hope could be revived. Your direction can be established. Your weaknesses can be overcome. Your relationships can be restored. [00:30:00] Your future can be secured. I gotta use the word can, could might, because it's not gonna happen. If you don't respond. And there's no way I can get around that. It's offered to you. It's this incredible thing that God's, let me take off the backpack. Let me take off the weight, but he's not going to rip it off your back. You shall render you surrender it by your will and your choice. So I started this message by telling you about some funny things that kids said. I want to close this message by telling you about, uh, Letter, not a letter. It's it sounds like a letter, but it's a, it's an assignment that an eight year old kid by the name of Danny Dutton from Chula Vista, California turned into his school. It's a third grade class. I don't know if it was a Christian school. I don't understand. I don't know the detail, but he was given the assignment, uh, explained God. Okay. Let's just stop right there. How [00:31:00] would you do explain God? Well, let me start here, you know, explain God. Well, let me just read to you part of what he wrote. I think it's fascinating. He said this. Um, well, one of God's being jobs is making people, he makes him to replace the ones that die. So there'll be enough people that take care of things on earth. He doesn't make grownups just. I think that's because they're smaller and easier to make. Um, that way he doesn't have to take up his valuable time, teaching them to talk and walk and all that stuff. He can just leave that to moms or dads got second, most important job is to listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on since some people like preachers and others pray at times beside bedtime. So God doesn't have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this, but because he hears everything and there must be a lot of a terrible lot of noise in his ears, unless he's figured out a way to turn it off. Now Jesus, he's got son. He used to do all the hard work, like walking on water and performing miracles and [00:32:00] trying to teach people who didn't want to learn about God. And they finally got tired of him preaching at them. So they crucified him, but he was good and kind like his father and told his father that they didn't know what they were doing and that he should forgive him. And so God did, God said, okay, now his dad, God appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth. So he told them he didn't have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in. So he did, um, this one, give some advice. Okay. He says, Hey, heads up, don't skip church. Uh, don't skip church to do something you think would be more fun, like going to the beach. That's just wrong. Besides the sun doesn't even come out of the beach until noon anyway, as well, going to church, then the last paragraph he says, all right, atheists or people who don't believe in God. Hey, these are people who don't believe in God. I don't think there are any in Chula Vista. At least there aren't any who come to our church. Uh, if you don't believe in God, [00:33:00] besides being an atheist, you're going to be very lonely, but because your parents can't go everywhere with you like the camp, but God can, it is good to know that he's around when you're scared in the dark or when you can't swim, you get thrown into the real deep water by big kids, but you shouldn't always think of what God can do. I figured God put me here and he can take me back anytime he pleases. And that's why I believe in God. I want to tell you something folks. I believe in God, I don't believe in God because he can take me out of here anytime he wants. I believe in God, because he took his son out of here on that day that we're celebrating today, that he literally caused us under to rise from there. This just changes every. Uh, because, uh, if I understand what's happening here and I think I do, uh, you know, the significance is not that the resurrection happened once it said it's going to happen again. It's going to happen to every one of you who received Jesus into your heart, the way God [00:34:00] intended it. Every one of you and me who let God take the weight off. It is going to live forever. In fact, Jesus said it this way to me last, last verse. I want to share John 1125 says this. Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die. And whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Now I've got to tell you, I believe that I believe that. God explained it and Jesus verified it and my own life confirms it because I've experienced. And I don't believe because I'm afraid of God, I believe because I've seen what Jesus does in a life. And what I want to do right now is I want to explain to you that God did this for you. He didn't do this burn. You, he did this to take a burden away from. And I don't know if you've ever connected this. Let me make sure. Okay. We'll [00:35:00] only know a certain number of things about a certain number of things you ever notice how Easter changes every year to a different date, but Christmas is always on the 25th of July. Well, why, why is that? It's a complicated formula and I don't want to take the time to explain it. It has to do with the moon. It has to do with Passover. It has to do with religion. All of that is all tied in. Okay. But here's what you need to understand. You know, what? It never changes about Easter, even though it changes every year, you know what? It never changes about Easter. It always, always, always comes in the springtime and follows winter. You're never going to have an Easter that is not there because see the point of Easter is that the death and the desolation. Despair and the darkness and the coldness of winter. It doesn't last that there is new life. There's a new beginning. There's a fresh start and it's hugely significant. And I just need you to understand that could be for you today. That is why God did this. [00:36:00] If you were today years old, before you ever heard or understood it was. It was for you now we're going to do two things. Let me do the first thing. First, when you walked in, you were given a little communion chalice. Let me just spend a moment to explain a couple of things here. What's going on with this. Um, we've talked about, you know, freedom is never free. There's always a price to freedom. This represents the price of this pain to set you free from your sin to set you free from your death to set you free from your fear. This was. Uh, Jesus did on the cross. This is what we remember. We go back 2000 years to the cross and what an incredible day that some Memphis, and we understand that, uh, Jesus gave his body that he gave his body when taken. He gave it for you. And so this bread, so we're going to open the. And take the bread out. This little wafer represents something of huge [00:37:00] significance that it was his body that they mingled and they hung him on a cross and he did it for you. He could have stopped it. So we take this and we go. If you know the story and what they did to him, they beat him mercilessly. They are, they literally, they whipped them shredded back. They shoved that. Thorns on his head. Literally just imagine the piercing pain of that. They put his hands in his feet. They pinned him to a cross. It's like a spear in his side, dragged it out as long as they could take it. By the way, this death by crucifixion was the cruelest in the Romans could be. It is so cruel that they have to come up with a word that matches the pain [00:38:00] of a crucifixion. Therefore, in our English language, we say it's excruciating out of the cross. It's excruciating painful this blood, which is not blood. This is the fruit of the vine to bind us. The blood was shed. This was not free. This was not painless, but this. Represents the blood that was shed to set you free. Let's take, just a moment. Oh, I'm going to ask you to stand and I'm going to pray. We're not done. Please. Don't leave. This is on all of our campuses. What we're going to do here. I just cannot not do what we're about to do. And that is to say this, if you're here today and you were today years old, then all of a sudden it sorta makes sense. Greatest day of your life. Just to happen. [00:39:00] I'm going to give you an opportunity to receive Jesus into your heart. It's not mine to give, but on behalf of God, I just want to lead you to a different life. If you want it. You understand what's going on here? Uh, Jesus stands at your door. He's knocking, he's knocking at the door and, um, he's knocking at the door and he is basically saying, um, would you let me in, would you let me in? And he's not going to kick your door down. That's what you need to understand. He doesn't have force. He's not going to kidnap you. So I'm gonna. But there's this moment in time where you're invited to open the door and that's what we're going to do right now. I'm going to open the door for you. I'm going to invite you to open the door and be more accurate. And if you know that you need Jesus, I'm just, we're going to [00:40:00] stand and we're going to sing a song and we're going to just give you time to find your way forward. Here. There should be some folks out in front here that'll meet you. And this will happen again on all of our campuses and online. You let us know and we'll be there. But here, here's what I'm asking you to do. I'm asking you to do the hardest thing in your life, and that is identify with Jesus. What I've tried to show you today is how much he's identified with you. You identify with Jesus. Say I I'm gonna, I'm gonna public publicly and acknowledge I believe in Jesus. And here's what I need you to understand. All right, listen, very carefully. The most important thing I'm going to send with this. This day is the greatest day in your life. If, if you respond, if you don't the changes, nothing for you, nothing you don't walk out of here. You're going to walk out of there. You're going to walk exactly like you came in and nothing's going to be. [00:41:00] You don't have the weight on your back. You going to be running, you going to be fleeing. You've been hiding and be scheming, renew new, all that stuff. You just keep doing it where it could change everything, but you have to respond. So I'm going to ask you all again. I'm asking not to leave, but stand up. Let me pray. They're going to lead us in a song and I want to invite you to come forward. Um, no, one's going to stick a mic in your hand, in your hand. No, one's gonna make you say anything. Okay. We're just gonna have some folks down here that are gonna greet you and welcome you. So if you want to do that, let's pray father, thank you for this. Thank you for what it means. God, I pray that you help us to understand the not going to force yourself in. You're not going to take the pack off our back in a, strip it up. But God, we can surrender it to you. We can offer it to you. We can say, and we can cast this care, this burden, this pain on you, and you'll gladly take it, but we have to, we have to be the one that's [00:42:00] says we surrender. So what I do pray that right now, people would surrender do what you do. Change lives. We know the cross changes. Everything changed the lives. Now, father, I pray in Jesus name. Amen. If

Easter at Central

by Cal Jernigan • April 17, 2022

What if the Easter story changes everything? What if nothing is more important, impactful, significant, and life changing than the moment Jesus rose from the grave? Join Pastor Cal Jernigan this Easter to find out what Easter means and why it represents the most important event in human history.