April 2, 2018 | I love Easter Sunday…and not for the reasons you might think.
Wow.  What. An. Easter.  From the incredible crowd, to the outstanding breakfast, and the amazing music, Jesus was celebrated Sunday morning at the Cayuga Christian Church.  I’m encouraged and humbled by the many hours of work so many of you invested into making Easter a beautiful celebration.  Because of you dozens of families were blessed by their visit with our Church family.  
 
I love Easter Sunday…and not for the reasons you might think.  I enjoy preaching to a packed house and I love singing familiar Easter anthems.  But what I love most about Easter is the reminder of the hope-filled promises that come with knowing Jesus is alive!  
 
1) The empty grave proves God is trustworthy.  
Jesus promised multiple times with His disciples that He would be crucified and raised on the third day (John 2:18-22; Matthew 12:39-40; Matthew 16:21; John 10:17-18; Matthew 27:62-64; Mark 8:31-33; Mark 9:30-32; Mark 10:33-34).  At the moment when Jesus made these promises with His disciples, they obviously didn’t understand what He was promising.  In their grief they had forgotten these promises (Luke 24:6).  But when the witnessed the empty tomb and spoke with Jesus after His resurrection, they realized that when Jesus makes a promise, He can be trusted.  
 
2) The empty grave proves nothing is impossible for God.  
The one situation that no one can escape is death.  Everyone will eventually face death — even Jesus.  Death thought it had won.  Satan was convinced he had victory. But when Jesus resurrected, He defeated the once undefeated.  Yes He died, but He proved that nothing is impossible because He came back to life from death.  By His resurrection Jesus proves once and for all that He is Lord over ALL! 
 
3) The empty grave proves God is loving.  
In order for Jesus to raise from the dead, He first had to die.  This means that He had to suffer a death He did not deserve.  Jesus’ crucifixion is the ultimate display of love.  He gave His life upon the cross for our sins because He loves us too much for us to face punishment for our sin alone.  John 3:16 promises us that “God loves the world so much, that He gave His one and only Son…”  It was love that motivated Jesus to die on the cross.  Nails didn’t keep His body on the cross, love did.  And from the cross, Jesus cried out “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:43).  Jesus endured death and resurrection all because He loves you.  
 
4) The empty grave proves eternal life is available.  
Because Jesus lives, you and I can live eternally with Jesus in heaven.  Death is a certainty for us all.  Death may mark the end of life as we know it.  But make no mistake, death is not final.  Death serves as a transition into eternity.  And the reality is, apart from knowing Jesus as Lord, eternity will be spent separated from Jesus in hell.  But if you know Jesus as Lord, meaning you have professed faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection and you have publicly displayed your faith in His saving grace by your baptism, then you may confidently know that you’ll transition from death to eternal life in heaven with Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:35-58).  This is the hope that we will one day see our loved ones who have died before us.   
 
Even though Easter is a date that has passed on our calendar, the reason we celebrate continues to serve as a daily reminder for our faith.  Christians celebrate Jesus’ resurrection every Sunday we gather for worship.  We trust in the power of Jesus’ resurrection every time we pray to God.  We cling to our faith in the resurrection of Jesus with every Bible truth we believe.  
 
Let me encourage you to never let the passion and enthusiasm of Easter Sunday to grow quiet and stale; for, Easter is the very foundation of everything we believe.  I can’t wait to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection again with you this Sunday…and the Sunday after that…and every Sunday.  I look forward to trusting in the resurrection power every opportunity I have to pray with you.  I’m excited to study Romans with you Wednesday evenings while we cling to our faith in an empty tomb.  You see, because Jesus is alive, we can call ourselves “Christians”.  

 

In Christ,

Pastor Ashton 
 
March 26, 2018 | Jesus’ Final Week

It is written in Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 16 and verse 21, “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life”.

The week preceding His death, Jesus is in Jerusalem. And the events that unfold are written about in Matthew 21-28. As you read through the final events of Jesus’ life, you’ll no doubt be stricken with grief as you witness the tragic loss of Jesus from the lives of His mother Mary, His disciples, and dozens of faithful followers who believed every word He preached.

As His body was laid to rest in a borrowed tomb, Jesus’ loved ones must have felt abandoned as they mourned. They had such hope that Jesus was building a Kingdom that would offer them freedom from the tyranny of Rome. They believed His words of life would make their lives better. Not everything Jesus had taught them made sense. And now that He’s suddenly been ripped from their lives, will they ever understand Jesus’ teaching?

As the group returned home from His grave, denial was probably beginning to set in. When they awoke on Saturday, and Jesus was still gone, it must have been a deeply sorrowful day.

But little did they know what Sunday would bring.

Let’s join together this Sunday to remember, commemorate, and celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.

In Jesus’ Name,

Pastor Ashton 
 
P.S. 
I believe Sunday is going to be one of the most powerful Sunday’s we’ve experienced together at Cayuga Christian Church!  I want you to be ready for what God is going to do, so here are SIX things you can do to prepare for Easter Sunday:
 
1. Read Luke 24:1-12 (the main text for the day) and pick out one aspect of eternity that resonates most for you.  
 
2. Go to bed early.  You don’t want to accidentally sleep in tomorrow.  
 
3. Arrive early and park far from the building.  We want our guests to have VIP parking tomorrow.  You’ll appreciate the extra steps with all of the Easter candy you’ll enjoy tomorrow 🙂
 
4. Choose to sit up close.  The worship center is going to fill up.  So sit close and scoot to the center of the isle.  Leave the seats in the back and near the isle open for folks who come in late.
 
5. Have you invited your ONE to join you?  They will hear the Gospel.  Find a moment this week and invite them to join you.  
 
6. Pray very specifically that Jesus will do something in your heart and in the heart of the person you’re bringing with you! 

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One Response to “Beyond Sunday”

  1. Nancy perry says:

    Thank you. It’s a pleasure to go to church now.You not only preach from the Bible but also from your heart. If I didn’t know any difference I would think you were Dr Stanley son. I watch him 3 times each week. Keep up the great work and I will be their every Sunday if Lords willing
    God Bless you and your family.

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