Monday, March 24, 2008

on the third day He will restore us

... from Hosea 6:2

On Easter Sunday, Pastor Ed's message was titled, The God of the Third Day. I knew that a week ahead time, as he had been home resting restlessly and preparing his next sermon, so he had his title unusually early. On Friday, I had been doing PowerPoint for this message, complete with scriptures from through both testaments about the third day.

But Sunday morning, it hit me with a fresh and stirring revelation. Usually I am not one to be getting a prophesy, but it feels like it. Of course, I am never sure until it plays out, and I am just as doubtful as the next person in predicting future events. God seldom gives us such a glimpse. And yet this so stirred me, I am writing it here, safely hidden in plain sight in my blog. Perhaps God's purpose for this is just hope. More hope would be a good thing...

Three years ago, three Easters, to be exact, was our first service in the new building, in 2005. Hard to forget, because it was such as crush of work. The Good Friday service was in the old building, and many of us worked all day Saturday to ready the new sanctuary for it's first service, on Easter morning.

It was a stunning success. There was about 450 people in two services, and if numbers count, and they usually do, this was a phenomenon.

But the story continued, and as it sometimes does, it went downhill. From that great number, attendance declined, slightly at first, but it continued. Then Pastor Ed shared with us that he had Parkinson's. Then our youth pastor, PJoe, was put on the liver transplant list, for the third time. He entered surgery just before Christmas, and left in the arms of our Lord. Personally, the decline continued for me, as my oldest, precious, 18 year old daughter told me she was pregnant, then my Bible study co-leader told me she was to have a double mastectomy reconstruction for pre-breast cancer, followed by another beloved sister in Christ having cancer, followed by a crushing blow from other quarters.

Two years went by. The staff and the ministries limbed along. The numbers continued down, the financial situation worsened so much that the last two years, Pastor Ed sent a request for funds for year end.

But behind the scenes, there has been growth...great, solid, enthusiastic, gifted believers have been added to our midst. Finally, a youth pastor has been chosen.

Like the Palm Sunday entrance for Christ, it looked good at first and then the skies darkened and hope was beginning to die, for me at least. But this is our THIRD YEAR. And I believe in the miracle of the Third Day.

Beloved Jesus, please apply the principal to us this year!! Bestow on us Your power and mercy and wisdom this year, Beloved, that we may share it with our community, carry out Your plans, and further Your Kingdom. May Your Kingdom come!


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