38,948. In Victoria last year, that’s how many people died.
0. The current tally of how many people last year were raised to life after dying.
The thing people across all cultures, times and places fear above anything else is death. The second oft feared thing is public speaking. If this is true, you want to make sure you don’t do the eulogy at your own funeral!
But seriously, the Christian faith offers the Hope of all Hopes: because Jesus rose from death, you too will be raised. You don’t have to fear physical death. In Him and through faith in Him we too shall live. This is the good news – the very best of news to a humanity cowering and shivering in the shadow of death.
Turning to our life in Jesus as a church, here is the vision for 2015 and beyond for our church that I believe God wants to lead us into and empower us to become:
1. Revive Prayer (sacrificial, devoted, intentional prayer at a new level)
“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Lk 18:1
“Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Eph 6:18
2. Renew Worship (cultivating a rhythm of awe and wonder in daily life and together on Sundays)
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” Heb 12:28
3. Rebuild Community (grow in care, concern and friendship with one another)
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Col 3:12–14
4. Reach Out (regain a heart and passion for mission, local and global)
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Mt 9:36–38
I will be talking more about these things at the start of term 2.
Have a wonderful Easter!