(Photo: Elevation Church via The Christian Post)
With Easter Sunday just a few days away, the message of the cross of Jesus Christ is, or soon will be, on the minds of Christians everywhere. In the video-based study "Seven-Mile Miracle: Experience the Last Words of Christ As Never Before," North Carolina megachurch pastor Steven Furtick teaches on location from some of the most recognizable sites from the passion narrative.
Furtick, lead pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, N.C., begins with a teaching about forgiveness based on Jesus' words in Luke 23:34, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
"I've always been gripped by the power of that statement," said Furtick, speaking from Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified. "I know that I wouldn't be able to find it in my heart to ask God to forgive the enemies that were responsible for my murderous, scandalous death. Yet the very first thing that Jesus did, which was the very thing he came to do, was to issue forgiveness in the face of his betrayers."
Furtick goes on to challenge Christians to not only understand how thorough the forgiveness for their own sins is, whether they've committed them knowingly or not, but to also forgive others who have hurt them.
There are seven parts to the DVD experience, each focusing on a different topic – forgiveness, salvation, relationship, abandonment, distress, triumph and reunion – relating to the seven statements Christ spoke while on the cross. At the end of each session, worship music is played while questions that could be used for either self-reflection or group discussion are shown on the screen.
Each part of the video was shot at a different location in Israel, such as Golgotha, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Mount of Olives and more.
The DVD, which was released in February, and its corresponding "Participant's Guide" book are designed for use in either a small group setting or by individuals.
Elevation Church has been named in "Outreach" magazine's list of the nation's fastest-growing churches for each of the last six years, and has grown to more than 10,000 people in weekly attendance since it was founded in 2006.