Reflections of Easter at Centerpoint
Last Sunday, Centerpoint Fellowship celebrated its third Easter service by offering six opportunities to hear about the sacrifice Christ made on the cross and the power of the empty grave.
Senior pastor John Schmidt delivered his first sermon on Saturday evening in Prattville to a crowd of just over 350 people. His sermon was titled, “Easter: Why It Matters”. When asked if he ever gets tired of delivering the Easter message year after year, Pastor John replied, “Never, I love telling people about what Christ did for us on the cross!”
Every now and then Pastor John sprinkles a little Greek or Hebrew into his messages. Last week, we learned the word telelestai’ means “it’s finished” or “paid in full”. Historians discovered old tax records with the word telelestai’ stamped on them, and in John 19:28-30, Jesus declared, “It is finished” upon taking His last breath. Jesus’ death on the cross was the final sacrifice. Jesus died in our place. He paid our penalty for our sin.
Sunday morning, Centerpoint offered its first 6:00 a.m. Sunrise service with breakfast afterwards. Expectation was for about 150-200 people, but God showed out not just with great weather and a beautiful sunrise, but He brought along nearly 500 worshippers! Worship team guitarist, Nick Osterman said, “cars and people were all over the hillside by the clock tower.”
The numbers continued to climb into the morning. Normally, around 100 attend the 8 a.m. service, but Easter morning welcomed 500 early risers. The 9:15 service had just over 700 while the 11 a.m. service greeted nearly 600. Our Pike Road venue in Montgomery had 120 in attendance.
Our expectations of an awesome celebration with large attendance were greatly exceeded. In anticipation of a large number of worshippers, we added services, increased volunteers, and added overflow worship areas.
While attendance figures are encouraging and necessary for planning, giving the attendees the truth is critical. This year’s Easter message began with what Christ did for us and ended with what we’re to do for Christ.
Pastor Schmidt closed his sermon with some ABC’s; Admit, Believe, and Commit. As a mom, I’ve learned my children are going to make messes. I appreciate when they can admit what they’ve done, but all too often they either ignore the mess they’ve made, blame the mess on someone else, or try and hide the mess. If they only knew how much easier life would be if they came to me and said, “Mom, I’m sorry, I made a mess. Could you please help me clean it up or show me what to do?” Likewise, our Heavenly Father yearns for the same response from us. He wants us to admit we’re sinners. In other words, we make spiritual messes from time to time.
Next, we need to believe Jesus Christ is God’s Son and that He died on the cross so we could have a relationship with God, and we must believe Jesus rose from the dead and is living.
Finally, we must commit our lives to Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” This is great news! When we commit our lives to Christ He exchanges our old sinful life for new life. It is our choice to commit to Christ daily and to battle our old sinful desires. We cannot expect to represent Christ while continuing to be the same person we used to be.
Jesus Christ did His part by taking our punishment and restoring our relationship with God. Our pastors, elders, worship team, and volunteers did their part by being the hands and feet which delivered the message of Christ’s sacrifice. The question that remains is will we do our part? Can we admit we’re mess makers (a.k.a sinners), believe Christ has the power to clean up any mess, and commit to changing daily?