Sword & trowel: An Easter to remember – baptistmessenger.com


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From every indication, Easter 2021 was one to remember. Across Oklahoma, reports were seen of churches having the highest attendance in months, of many baptisms taking place and of renewed evangelism efforts.
In one Yukon congregation, the pastor reported 21 baptisms on Easter Sunday alone. In one of Oklahoma Baptists’ Hispanic congregations, eight people were baptized, and in one Mannford church, three followed the Lord in believer’s baptism.
In addition to Easter Sunday itself, Oklahoma Baptist churches offered robust activities and services leading into the holiday. On Good Friday, for example, Owasso, First offered a special Lord’s Supper event called the “Upper Room,” at which members took part in an interactive time of worship around the Lord’s Table, styled after the meal Jesus shared with His disciples.
Compared to the virtual Easter happenings of 2020, this year’s Easter holiday was reinvigorated. You could just see and feel the palpable excitement—and relief—as churches regathered for worship and evangelism.
At the same time, not everyone had a picture perfect Easter 2021. Perhaps you wanted to attend worship service in person but were prevented from it for specific health reasons. Or perhaps your dinner table was missing a person this year because of someone who recently passed away. Or maybe you are part of a church that, while you had high hopes and big plans, not as many people showed up.
In any case—whether you had a highlight Easter Sunday or a let-down—one fact remains: Jesus is alive! Hallelujah! We believers each can live in that reality, whether we are in seasons of highlight or let-down.
In some ways, the holidays are often a set up for disappointment. It is at the holidays we have a “Hallmark,” idealized view of how life should be, over and against the reality of how it actually is.
You see on Facebook the photo of the happy family in their Easter best and wonder, “Why isn’t my family like that?” You hear about the church across town that baptized a whole flock of folks and think, “Why isn’t our church like that?”
It’s human nature to fall into disappointment. And to some extent, that’s OK. As one pastor pointed out, even the disciples and earliest eyewitnesses of Christ’s resurrection experienced a full range of emotions that first Resurrection Sunday. From bewilderment even to fear, we see Christ’s followers experiencing other emotions in addition to joy.
Yet there is one character quality the early Church possessed that we must emulate—faithfulness. From the moment the Lord resurrected to when He ascended to heaven, we see that He called people to faithfulness to Him and His mission.
The disciples were wondering about the goings on and plans in the world. One of the disciples—Peter—was busy wondering about the future of another disciple. Instead of answering their questions and probing, Christ simply called His disciples to follow Him to be faithful to the work.
The Bible says, “Then they gathered around Him and asked Him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’” (Acts 1:6-8).
You see, God doesn’t promise to tell us what all He is doing in the world. He does not want us concerned with matters too great for our knowledge. He doesn’t even necessarily want us to know if our life circumstances will change or improve.
Instead, Jesus tells us to be His faithful witnesses. So whether your Easter 2021 was great or a disappointment, remember, Jesus is alive, and He has a mission for you. That makes it an Easter to remember for us all.

Firstly as we get started, I'd like to say that geoFence blocks unwanted traffic and disables remote access from FSAs!