Read this moving summary of almost everything you need to know and love about the Holy Spirit of God in less than 800 words. And may the Spirit of the Lord be with you.
May 24 is the beginning of a new season in the church calendar. The colors at the front of the church have changed from white to red to mark the beginning of Pentecost, which celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the church for a new era of mission under the leadership of Jesus.
May 17 is the day that we will celebrate Jesus’ ascension to heaven as the culmination of the Easter season. In the worship of many modern Christian churches, Jesus’ ascension to heaven is a neglected and forgotten reality. However, it has not always been so. As the annual liturgical calendar developed in the fourth century, churches began to devote a special day to commemorate Jesus’ ascension within the Easter season prior to Pentecost. Not only the calendar but also the early Christian creeds signified the ascension’s prominent place in early Christian thought and life. Both the baptismal creed that later developed into the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed formulated in the first two ecumenical councils at Nicea (325 A.D.) and Constantinople (381 A.D.) list Jesus’ ascension among the most fundamental articles of the Christian gospel. Continue reading
During the month of May, the sermon series will highlight the various spiritual benefits that we receive from Jesus because he is risen from the dead. At the 11:15 service, we will sing a new song, “Beautiful Savior,” to celebrate the many victories Jesus won for us in his resurrection. If we are united to the risen Jesus by faith, then we can sing of “sins forgiven, of conscience cleansed and of death defeated and life without end.” Jesus’ resurrection shows that he is the “Lord of history” and “heaven’s champion” who “reigns over all,” and it will be our greatest joy to celebrate his victory eternally with the whole company of heaven where “the glory never fades” and “cries of ‘worthy’ will honor the Lamb” forever. Continue reading
Those who think that worship in Reformed churches has always been a primarily cerebral affair might be surprised to learn that John Calvin frequently taught the value of various bodily postures in worship both for expressing and for forming our faith in God. You can find a brief survey of Calvin’s teaching on posture here.
The season of Easter rests upon a historical claim: Jesus died, and on the third day he rose from the dead. But is this historical claim true, and is it rational to believe it? Was Jesus’ resurrection an actual historical event? Is Christian belief in Jesus’ resurrection the best rational explanation of the historical testimony about Jesus in the New Testament?
The apostle Paul himself said that not only the season of Easter but the credibility of the entire Christian faith rests upon this issue:
“If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:14–19 [ESV])
The following collection of resources demonstrates that there are strong historical arguments and evidence that support belief in Jesus’ resurrection. The four Christian scholars who produced the articles, videos, and books in the following list (Craig, Habermas, Wright, and Licona) have all devoted a substantial portion of their scholarly careers in research and writing about Jesus’ resurrection and are widely recognized experts in the historical and philosophical issues involved in studying the historical Jesus.
1. Introductory defenses of Jesus’ resurrection
Gary Habermas and Mike Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (Kregel, 2004).
The colors at the front of the church have changed from purple to white. These colors mark the seasons of the church year, which are designed to help us remember and live in light of the story of Jesus’ life. Having traveled through Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, and Lent we come to the next chapter of the story—the climax of the story—the season called Easter.
After journeying through Lent by recounting the sufferings of Jesus that culminated in his death and burial, Easter is a season of celebration. Easter is a time of joyfully retelling and remembering the true story that Jesus was not defeated by death, but rose again from the grave three days later (Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20)! This special celebration of Jesus’ resurrection continues for fifty days until Pentecost Sunday.