Enjoying God’s Easter Grace
An unedited day end Easter blog from Pastor Mark
The first Easter we enjoyed as Mars Hill church was in 1996. We were in core group phase of our church plant and I was twenty-five years of age. We were meeting only at nights as we could not find or afford a Sunday morning location. Our first Easter consisted of maybe thirty people getting together for a potluck dinner in the basement of an old church.
We did not have a band as our musicians did not make it. We did not have any powerpoint as we could not afford a projector. We did not have any bulletins as we also could not afford a copy machine.
But, we did have Jesus. And, we had each other. Most of the core did not come from Christian homes, many lived far away from their families, and we were basically one big extended family of new converts. For someone who deserved hell, I still remember feeling overwhelmed at the grace God allowed me to enjoy by getting up to teach on Jesus’ resurrection out of 1 Corinthians 15.
As the years rolled on our church had the joy of partnering with some other churches who did own buildings to have Good Friday services. Eventually, we were given our own little building and got to do our own Good Friday services. This has grown to more than 5,000 people joining us for Good Friday this year, and another nearly 14,000 people watching online via live streaming.
It is presently 8:17pm on Sunday night and I have enjoyed even more of God’s lavish grace today. I just finished my fifth sermon, and the last of our 22 services spread across 7 campuses is under way (17 were on video). People are being saved as I type, a packed house is cheering what are the last of a few hundred baptisms today, and for the first time in our history over 10,000 people have joined us to enjoy God’s grace on a Sunday. Thanks to technology over 10,000 more watched the live streaming of our services around the world from, at last report, 92 nations. It has been astounding to hear the reports of people around the world tuning in just to enjoy God’s grace with us. Some have said that they are watching their friends who live in Seattle be baptized although they are sitting in places such as Italy.
Some of those who were baptized today were actually the children of people I baptized many years ago who have gone on to marry, be parents, and raise their own children to enjoy the grace of God poured out through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The pastors who have been graced to stay in one church for many years understand what I am talking about when I say that it is a humbling, overwhelming, and amazing gift to see generations transformed by the gospel.
One example includes Pastor Jamie Munson, my dear friend, fellow little league dad, and the lead pastor of Mars Hill. He was baptized as a new convert early on in Mars Hill and today enjoyed the grace of baptizing his own son Caleb who is a great kid and buddy with my boys who cheered as their friend publicly testified of Jesus work for him. Also cheering was my lovely wife Grace who is God’s grace to me, a complete supporter of Mars Hill Church, and a woman who deeply loves our church and her husband which is a great gladness to me.
In addition to all of this, the local ABC, NBC, and FOX news stations were here today to repot on the grace of God that we are enjoying and broadcasting it repeatedly to even more people tonight. And, this week all of the sermons and the baptisms will be posted online so that tens of thousands of more people can also enjoy God’s grace with us.
Today I am enjoying so much of God’s grace that I am completely overwhelmed. I deserve hell and the wrath of God. Instead, because of Jesus I am seeing people born again before my eyes. I am seeing generations changed as new matriarchs and patriarchs are raised up to lead new families in new destinies. I am witnessing all of this go out to the world through a multitude of media, including the internet which God in his providence allowed to go public around the same time as our church launched so that so many could enjoy God’s grace with us. The difference between the hell I deserve and the grace I enjoy is Jesus Christ.
He is God.
He did die for sinners.
He did rise in victory.
He is alive ruling from his throne today.
He is still at work in the world.
He will be with us forever.
And, one day we will rise to be with him, for him, and like him forever as all that will remain is to enjoy his grace together forever.