Monday, March 23, 2015


It was 23 years ago, on February 27, 1991, at the height of Desert Storm, that Ruth Dillow received a very sad message from the Pentagon.  It stated that her son, Clayton Carpenter, Private 1st Class, had stepped on a mine in Kuwait and was killed.

She later wrote, "I can't begin to describe the shock.  It was almost more than I could bear.  For 3 days I wept.  For 3 days I expressed anger and grief.  For 3 days people tried to comfort me, to no avail because the loss was too great.”

But 3 days after she received that message, the telephone rang.  The voice on the other end said, “Mom, it’s me. I’m alive.”  Ruth Dillow said, “ I couldn’t believe it at first.  But then I recognized his voice, and he really was alive.”  The message she had received was all a mistake!  She said, “I laughed, I cried, I felt like turning cartwheels, because my son whom I thought was dead, was really alive.  I’m sure none of you can even begin to understand how I felt.”

Just as we cannot fully identify with the depth of emotion experienced by this mother in the true story, it is difficult to identify fully with the news that swept like a tsunami across the city of Jerusalem the morning of the third day after the crucifixion of Jesus.  The stone was rolled away.  The tomb was empty.  Neither the Roman officials nor the Jewish leaders had a believable explanation for what had happened to the missing body of the Nazarene.  Except this one…“He is risen!  He is risen indeed!”

In the Ford Center on Easter morning, just two weeks from now, we have the opportunity to awaken our city and area to this, the supreme reality of history.  Jesus Christ is alive evermore!  Since we do this service year after year, and it seems to get easier each time, if we are not careful, we can merely go through the motions…plan, promote, execute, evaluate.  But wait!  It is not human engineering that will make it live!  It is the mystical power and presence of the One we celebrate.  So, how do we invite and embrace His presence?  By the size of our heart for it: the size of the physical, emotional and spiritual investment we make.

Will you join me in going all out again this year?!…attending the Service of Darkness…being present for the prayer meetings during Holy Week, the prayer walk at the arena…thinking evangelistically…using your influence in your ministry areas and with your small group…taking ownership of the remaining promotional pieces…giving two hours in the next two weeks to grab an accountability partner and creatively distribute invitations.  

If our hearts are large for it, we will receive the first fruits of gratification and joy from the experience!

Yoked with you for Him who rose on Easter!

Pastor Ken

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