(Photo: Harvest Ministries)
Easter has always meant a lot to me, and in the life of our church, Easter Sundays have been historic times of outreach, growth and opportunity. However, the resurrection of Jesus has never meant more to me than it does right now.
The grave is brutal, merciless and uncaring. It swallows everything it touches and it is never satisfied. It will not stop until every last person has been consumed. It seems as though every time you turn on the news or get a breaking news alert on your phone there is a new tragedy. Planes that disappear, celebrities who accidentally overdose, young people who despair and take their lives, public places turned to terror through shooting – sometimes it's too much to handle.
The good news is that death has been devoured by the power of God and it can't fight back. Jesus' tomb is empty and because of that fact, we don't have to be terrified by the grave anymore. Death's power has been undone. Those who fall asleep in Christ become greater after death than they were before and they can never be touched by it again. Paul said, "For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." (II Corinthians 5:1)
I am writing these words about a subject that is not abstract or hypothetical for me – it is personal. Easter Sunday will mark exactly sixteen months since our five-year-old daughter Lenya unexpectedly left this earth and went to heaven. It was December 20, 2012, just five days before Christmas when we came face to face with the brutality of the grave. She died in my arms. If I could have given my life for hers I would have, but I wasn't given that choice. As a daddy this was my worst nightmare.
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead and the power of the Gospel are the only reason I am full of faith and not despair as I type these words. There are often tears in my eyes, but I have peace in my heart. And I am, with every fiber of my being, driven to communicate the truth of this message to as many people as possible (people who will all have to die one day) until my time on this earth is done.
We (at Fresh Life Church) are going big this Easter at our worship experiences that will be happening all across the state of Montana. The raw power of the message we preach deserves nothing less than our very best effort. Our campuses in Bozeman, Billings, the Flathead Valley, Missoula and live broadcast online at freshlifechurch.com will be throttled all the way up with amazing music and a powerful experience.
Our prayer is that many will find life and purpose in Jesus Christ. He is the only one who has conquered death so He is the only one who can give us eternal life.
I am preaching on the two words that Jesus died and rose so we could hear: "Welcome Home." It is this that every heart longs for even if we don't know to articulate it that way. Future nostalgia. Homesickness for a place we've never been but which we are magnetically drawn to like a compass seeks true North. Home. Heaven. Eternity. It's been hardwired into our souls. And it comes to us at great price. Jesus left his home in Heaven and came to earth so that we could leave earth and go to Heaven. He told His disciples exactly that on the eve of His death in John 14. He told them, "I go to prepare a place for you." And He wasn't speaking of interior decorating or building an addition onto His Father's House. He was referencing His death, resurrection and ascension which would effectively blaze a trail for us to follow when we pass through the valley of the shadow of death ourselves.
Hebrews 6 presents Him as the anchor secured in the Most Holy Place that we are connected to by the Holy Spirit, and the rest of our lives we are being slowly and surely winched towards our true homeland.
Levi Lusko is the pastor of Fresh Life Church, a multi-site church in Montana. His teaching style is real, relevant, and raw. In addition to communicating Gods truth, he loves to snowboard, surf, cycle, read and drink coffee. His 5-year-old daughter, Lenya Avery Lusko, went home to be with the Lord in Heaven after a severe asthma attack on Dec. 20, 2012. Website: LeviLusko.com Twitter: @levilusko