There is nothing in the human family in philosophy, psychology, religion that compares to the message of Easter in the Christian faith. Happy Easter to all of you.
And I want to share with you in the few moments I have Easter is come alive power! Is Jesus Christ really alive? Are you really alive? Is some of this or none of this fantasy and legend of myths? I don’t know, you don’t know. It’s a choice. Faith is always a choice and I have chosen all my life to believe that it really happened! He was killed. It was a crucifixion. He was put in a borrowed tomb. All of that is fact and requires little faith. But was He resurrected as the scriptures say? Is He really alive? I say He is. And it gives us, if we embrace the faith, come alive power!
From the depth of His death and entombment, Jesus came alive and with it came alive power. Let me share how alive power comes to us through Jesus Christ. Alive: what does it mean to really be alive? I have an acrostic that I hope you’ll hear seriously because it really ties it all together. A-L-I-V-E.
A stands for awareness. You’re alive when you become aware of reality around you, and within you, behind you and before you. Alive starts with awareness of reality. Now if any of you are of a state of mind and your mind is really with what’s going on around you or inside of you, then you’re really not alive. You come alive when suddenly a reality strikes you and a spiritual reality that you can only explain by using the word G-O-D. Jesus Christ is alive. And that means He is aware! He is aware of you! He is aware of me. He loves you, He loves me. Awareness. And He’s willing to get involved in our lives. The cross is the proof of that fact. And He’s the source of our spiritual strength and energy, vitality and enthusiasm. All of these positive emotions are a spiritual activity of God within our personality. You experience God more than you know you just don’t call Him that. You are aware. Alive = A.
L = L stands for love. Love is what makes the animal called man a human being called the Son of God. Jesus showed us what real love really is. Come alive power is powers when we learn to love people and love ourselves. “Love one another,” Jesus said, “as I have loved you.” “No greater love than this that one lay down his life for his friends.” Alive! Let the Christians define that word. Travel the globe, listen to the other philosophers and now hear me as I speak for Christians when I say are you alive? I am alive. And what does that mean? I am aware of the world in which I’m living and the people who are out there. I love people before I know them and I love them after I know them. Alive! A stands for awareness, L stands for love.
And I stands for involved. You check in, you don’t check out. That’s being alive. Checking in is being alive. We are designed to be indigenous, involved creatures.
Many years ago, the great pianist Paderewski was giving a concert in Paris. In the audience, there was a little boy who had just started piano lessons. His mother wanted to inspire him so they arrived early. And the stage was empty except for the huge grand piano. As it grew time for the concert to begin, the mother was so absorbed in her program that she didn’t notice that her little boy had gotten restless, had left his seat at the aisle and had climbed onto the stage and now was sitting down at the grand piano and he began to play chopsticks. All of a sudden, the auditorium was almost filled and the little boy didn’t realize the place was packed with people. He was still sitting there playing chopsticks, blinded by the stop light when out of the darkness somebody said ‘get off the stage! Get the kid off!’ Just then the great Paderewski strolled onto the stage and he went up to the little boy and sat with him on the bench and said ‘you’re very good. Let’s do this together.’ Then he went into what has been called Variations in Chopsticks, a famous piece. When it was finished, he asked the little boy to take a bow. Wow.
A = awareness. That’s the beginning of coming alive. L = love. Now something is coming really alive emotionally inside of your body. I = involved. You get involved and check out the possibilities that are around you for good. V.. A-L-I-V: V stands for victory. You are alive when you don’t run from problems, you face them. And they never defeat you. You defeat them.
I was recently reviewing my writings that I had collected of Solzhenitsyn who in the past century was one of the most inspiring, brilliant minds and one of the greatest writers and one of the literary geniuses that was thrown into a Soviet prison camp where the prisoners were not allowed to talk to anybody. It was, to say the least, terribly depressing. If one person was ever even talking to another person, they would be instantly killed. Many of you remember that. It reached a point when Solzhenitsyn writes, “It was I alone against a whole Soviet regime. It was me facing an impossible battle. I sat down that last morning that I expected to be my last, I sat down, I can stand it no more. I put my shovel flat on the ground expecting that the guard would come and see it. He would do to me what I had seen him do to others when they let go of their shovels and threw them on the ground. He would just come and put me out of my misery. He would simply take the shovel and with the sharp edge, crack it on my head. That would be it. I waited until I heard the rustle of feet. When I looked, there was an old man moving close to me. Silently, without a word, he picked up a stick and scratched a line in the sand in front of me. Then he scratched a line through the line. He dropped the stick and walked away and I looked and it was the sign of the cross and I thought of course, it was so like Jesus. He was alone against the whole world. But He’s alive today and that kept me going.”
Three days later, the miracle happened. Solzhenitsyn was released. Hallelujah.
To be alive! First be aware of life around you in the world then put love into your life and see these people and they too have their problems more than you. Then I = become involved. Touch them, talk to them, meet them. Jesus is in you. Let that Jesus come out as you meet the people with probably greater problems. A-L-I-V = Victory. Victory. Look at the cross and remember that the cross is never the last word. The last word is the resurrection. It’s Easter. A-L-I-V-E = E stands for eternal life. This is not the last Easter. You’ll never hear the words this is the last Easter. You can hear those words of concerts, classical pieces but you’ll never hear anybody say it’s Easter and this is the last Easter. There is no last Easter. Easter is forever and forever for those who believe.
I have lived with Christ all my life and I can tell you we are all victims at times. No we’re not. We are victors. Always. Christ lives in me. Christ lives in you. And He will never leave us without an Easter blessing.
It was early in December of 2-0-0-7; Mrs. Schuller received a gift for Christmas. It was a bulb. And they said to her plant it. It’s an amaryllis. And in only a few weeks it’ll bloom so your amaryllis will be alive for Christmas. She did and it bloomed and then of course the flower faded and the petals fell down and then the leaves withered and they were gone until shortly after Christmas there was nothing left but one stem. And it was brown and dead. She or someone in the family took it and stuck it in the back room where we have a lot of stuff that has to be thrown away. A room where there’s no sunlight, a room where there’s no water, a room where it would soon be left forgotten behind other stuff in front of it. It was 13 months later that she happened to go in there, she thought she saw color. She moved stuff and this was what she found. Thirteen months. No water, not a drop. No ray of sunshine, not a bit. Total darkness, total death environment, but this is the amaryllis.
What has God put in each of you? Wow! There’s eternal life inside of you. People will look at the dead body and say that’s it, it’s the end. It’s not the end! It is a transition. Let the amaryllis remind you that blossoms are going to come out of you and out of me when some people will say they’re dead. We are not. We have eternal life. That’s what makes Easter so fantastic. He came back from the dead. Eternal life. And He’d come and live in you. You’ve heard many people say this and I’m going to help here, many people will say well I accepted Christ as my Savior and He lives in me, and boy did I come alive. You know what that meant? When Christ’ spirit lives in you, you become aware of a spiritual universe. You begin a heartbeat of love and you feel more love for people than you ever did before. And then you get involved and you hear the people who are hurting and you can help them and you do. And then you help them as well as yourself to enjoy victory over life’s circumstances and finally, eternal life. It’s for all of you who love Him. Hallelujah. Amen