How should the world view the church? Unfortunately, we've got to own the fact that we’ve created a brand for the church that Jesus never intended. But we have the opportunity to give everyone a Brand: New perspective. In this 3-part series, Brand:New, we will look at how we can return Christianity to the hope-filled, life-giving brand Jesus intended.
1. How do/did you typically celebrate Easter? Do you include the Easter bunny, Easter baskets, or egg hunts in your celebrations? Why or why not?
2. Read Luke 24:13-35. Put yourself in the shoes of the two people walking on the road. How would you describe their emotional state? Why? What was it they were hoping for? Share a time when your hopes or dreams were similarly dashed. How did it impact your life emotionally, physically, and spiritually?
3. In these same verses we see that Jesus came up and walked alongside them, and that they were kept from recognizing Him. According to Pastor Gary Gaddini, they didn’t recognize Him because their definition of Jesus, their expectations of Jesus, and their lack of hope blinded them. How do your definition, your expectations, or your lack of hope prevent you from fully recognizing Jesus?
4. In their encounter with Jesus, three things occurred: their past was reframed, their present was reprioritized, and their future was redirected. In verses Luke 24:25-27 how did Jesus reframe the past? Notice he didn’t change the past, but reframed it. How has He reframed your past?
5. In the “midst of their mess” Jesus met them right where they were at. Remember Pastor Danny’s words to us in his Family Table series? Life gets messy -- meet your children right where they are. Jesus does the same for us. He meets us right where we are in the mess! The two people didn’t walk the road alone in their grief and sorrow. How does that make you feel? According to Pastor Gary, it was when the two individuals slowed down and invited Jesus into a deeper relationship with them that their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, who then reprioritized their present. At what pace are you traveling today? What steps can you take to slow your journey down? In what ways are you keeping Jesus at arm’s length today? What is keeping you from entering into a deeper relationship with Him?
6. Finally, we see that, because of their encounter with Jesus, their future was redirected. Pastor Gary reminds us that Jesus didn’t just come out of the grave, but Hope did as well. Because Hope isn't a destination, it’s a person. In Christ we can have hope as we walk our journey today and for eternity. In this world of uncertainty and chaos, are you looking for a Hope that rises above your circumstances? What is preventing you from receiving a Hope that will walk alongside you and give you eternal life today?
If you would like this Hope today simply say this prayer:
Dear God, I am hope deficient and I don’t want to stay the same. I want all that You offer me today, including forgiveness, Your presence, and a future guided by You forever. Jesus, I exchange my moral rebellion for Your forgiveness, love, grace and power. I want to open up my life to You and get to know You. I invite You to be the manager of my life from this day forward. I want to learn to trust You. Amen.
Resources (see links below)
1. Support a Graduating High School Foster Teen
2. Register for Live on the Lawn for 4.11.21