The Resurrection Changes Everything

Categories: Shared Thoughts

Pat and JoeDear Friends,

It was an Inspiring Easter Sunday morning starting with the 6:30 AM Sunrise Service.   And the sun did rise!  And became beautiful sunshine with only some intermittent clouds. Joe said it was a perfect kind of service organized by Dan and Debbie Gara. Grilled fish and bread, a Biblical experience.  And wonderful litany interaction. Then at 9:30 we placed all of our garden flowers on the wooden  cross on the LNPC green. ✝ It was gorgeous!  It’s just Easter morning magic when this cross is finished. Every year it’s the most beautiful. I’ll try to include a photo. And I know there will be a great photo on the church website ( www.lnpc.org).

At 10 AM we had our Easter Church Service with fragrant Easter lilies   banking the altar. We had lots of music!!  And it was beautiful. Also, beautiful Easter words and prayers. The church was full – a blessing!  Let’s strive for that every Sunday.  The Hallelujah chorus ended our service on a joyous high note as we went out onto the patio to receive very decorated and delicious cookies    offered on trays  by our children. And then…..

The 11:30 Easter Egg Hunt on the green!  This was indeed a full and a joyous Easter morning. So many people were involved in making this a wonderful Easter experience. I don’t know all of you who worked hard to bring all this Easter joy, but Joe commented that Stacy Malone was back in the kitchen baking cookies nonstop!  Thank you to all of our great LNPC group.

The “Service of Nails” held on Good Friday was an emotional Quiet Service with low lighting. A service of remembering the pain of Christ that He endured for us.  Walking into the sanctuary we were given a large nail which was a focus of the service. At the end of the service each of us walked by the large wooden  cross at the sanctuary front and dropped our nail in a metal bucket. It was a jarring sound effect and  symbolized our removal of sins that Christ took away by His death and resurrection. Joe and I found it very moving and meaningful.

Speaking of Joe….he is once more off to Alaska today!  This time it’s snow “ mobile-ing”  into the wilderness to our  friend’s cabin. Two or more guys plus the dog!  Once they arrive, remember  there’s no running water, no electricity, no telephones, no… And no….. And don’t get hurt or sick!!  No one anywhere near to tend to any emergency. Do Grizzlies hibernate?  I don’t remember. He is so excited! A whole week to endure the elements, do some ice fishing and whatever guys do?????

Mission Result Reports
One Great Hour of Sharing. Over $500 collected in coins alone from those fish boxes. Together we are amazing!

And, instead of 140 Easter baskets, we packed 157!!
Once again we pulled together for a greater good

Talent Show Is Coming!!         April 16th
Well, ok, for some of us this can be a “talentless show”.   But fun is absolutely guaranteed  Grab someone in your Family or a Friend and come up with an act. Musical    or ???????  The opportunities are limitless!!  Show courage. Do it!!. And, if you really have talent    you will be loved and surrounded by accolades!

Family Camp  – Into The Wild
Coming soon and ready to be signed up for. May 20-22 at the Lazy W Ranch , only about 30 minutes away!  Talk to John Denton or Debbie Gara if you want to go. They just have way too much fun and fellowship at this LNPC gathering. And we have ages there from baby to 90+. Think that’s a wide enough range for you to fit in??  Scholarships available where needed.

Church Flowers
Our Easter lilies made the church especially beautiful and fragrant on this Easter Sunday. Thank you to those of you who donated a lily. And –  Don’t forget to sign up on the flower chart in the Narthex for your future week of flowers.  Make out a $65 check to McCool Florists and take to church office or bring Sunday AM and put in offering plate . Remember the purpose of these flowers is for the beauty of the service but more importantly we Deacons take them after church to those who are not well or not able to come to the church service. It is so nice for them to receive and gives a cheery visit with them also. If you know of someone who needs a cheery bouquet please let me know!!

Our Pastor Nominating Committee
They are still working hard. I am hoping for an update soon. Don’t forget to pray for  these  hard working members who are taking so much of their personal time for our church: Fred Ehlers, Greg Heath, Carl Hess, Howard Hirakawa,  Pat Kun, Stacy Malone, Brett Riordan, Cecil Spearman and Carol Stocksdale.  They have a most important duty for the future of  LNPC. Their responsibility is awesome!

Church Activities
1.  Adult Classes
a.     Open Door Bible Study. Currently in Spring Break -Usually Tuesdays at 2PM. Karen Vassey and Jean Shelton lead this class with a great group of people attending. Joe attends when he can
b.    TGIF Growth Group –  – 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month at 10:30 AM. Meets in Conference Room 2nd floor. “Thank God I’m Forgiven” Bible Study
2.  Missions   Our job is to spread God’s word and care for others as Christ’s disciples. We have so many projects of outreach. JoAnn Renning, whom I call “ The Lady of Perpetual Mission” is constantly reminding us of our responsibilities in charity.
Hands of Grace Meal  Feed the homeless the first Wednesday of each month. Bring food and help serve and sit down and eat with these interesting people.  It is not held at our church,  the food is taken to Faith Episcopal Church in Laguna Niguel. You don’t have to stay, you can just drop off food if you prefer . Pastor Paul attends and several of our congregation. Call JoAnn Renning or the church office for more information.
Food Drive for South County Outreach –. We are always collecting food. Look for the barrel in the narthex and bring your non perishables.  The need never ends! And if you want to help sort and work at this main Orange County center, they definitely need help. Joe has done that and enjoys it, but says it is definitely work
Making Sandwiches For the Laguna Beach Friendship Shelter this Saturday at 9:30AM. Join this group of friendly focused ladies to make 50 bag lunches and 100 Sandwiches
4. Fashion Show  Ladies!…. Save the date of May 14th Saturday to attend the Annual Fashion Show  at El Niguel Country Club.  These proceeds are how many of our Mission Programs are funded!
5. Prayer Groups  Monday mornings 8-8:30 in the sanctuary a group meets to pray for our church, our PNC , our church members and the person who will be called to be our Pastor. Come and join in prayer. Just show up.
6   The Gathering  Every Sunday at 4:30 -5:30 You have the opportunity to meet for Praise, Prayer and Fellowship. The Music is all Praise Music  It’s held in Gard Hall. It’s a try to meet the needs of those who can’t come Sunday AM or those who prefer a more contemporary Worship style.
7.  Training session for Stephen Ministry in co-op with Lutheran Church of the Cross . Meeting  Tuesdays 6-8:30 PM at the Laguna Woods Lutheran Church on El Toro Road. Call Margaret Lee for more information ( 948-230-8999)

Children’s Activities
1.     John Denton’s Youth Group meets Mondays.5:30-7 PM. Location. The Garage.    If your teens or your teen’s friends or your friend’s youth are available suggest they come. Everyone gets along and has fun.  And they serve the church and our needs too. Thumbs up from my grandson
2.    Confirmation Class started on November 18 and goes through May 15. That is on Wednesday 4-5PM  8th grade and above.
3.     Children’s Choir   practice is Mondays 4-5:30. EXCEPT:  Spring break 3/28 – 4/3 LeeLee gives the Lifetime Treasure of Music to our children. 5 years plus. It provides experiences your children/grandchildren will never forget. My grandkids have been attending and I ask if they like it. They answer with an Emphatic “yes!”. Thank you LeeLee.
4.    Pathfinders    Wednesday’s at 3:30- 5:00. with Debbie Gara and her helpers. They are always doing great activities, being creative  and learning too. Snacks, stories, games and art and crafts. They are also on Spring Break 3/28 – 4/13.
5.     VBC. Vacation Bible Camp  July 11-15. 9-12. Get your calendar marked for kids or grandkids and neighbor and friend’s kids. And don’t forget to volunteer!  We had so much fun last year.

Service Recap
Prelude
The Chancel Choir sang a “Christ Arose Medley” Suk accompanied on both organ and piano throughout the service. And LeeLee directed and played both the organ and piano. What talented people we have in our congregation. And of course, Binh does it all.

Liturgists
Our professional team of Pastor Paul Reeves, Reverend Debbie Gara,  Reverend Anette Rivhosky and Youth administer, John Denton provided a meaningful and beautiful Easter Service. Susie Hess participated as the Lay Liturgist doing well as always

Service Music
What is better than Holiday Music?. And Easter Music is uplifting and hopeful !!  Thank you to all who participate in our Music programs. Our professional leadership is so outstanding and they always show a love of God in all they do !  The Praise team of Diana D’Itri and her sister took our breath away with their harmony on the beautiful vocal  performance. What voices!  It was during the offertory and I think the song was something like “Hear the Bells Ringing” And we had a mini orchestra – trumpets, trombones, guitars, drums and our faithful Allen Renning on his sax in addition to organ and piano. . And our fabulous choir sang  “Thine Is The Glory”. And they sang so much more throughout the entire service. What would we do without this musical group!  The congregation couldn’t help but clap responsively to  every music selection.  Thank you Binh and Choir and all. All was outstanding.  And the Children’s Choir sang so enthusiastically.  They are our very own LNPC children  and LeeLee directs them so they do their very best. We all love it. Thank you LeeLee.   And we must always remember Binh’s admonition that it is all for the Glory of God

Children’s Message
Carl Hess did the Children’s message. It was fabulous and the children were riveted. You have to go to the website for this. I’ll never get it all right. If I told you he was dressed in his Choir robe with a sweat band around his forehead  talking about athletics, blood, sweat and tears, a famous athlete and how he was a game changer.   And then relating it to Christ’s death march to the cross of 2000 years ago with blood, sweat and tears and then how God turned it all around and  it was no longer a death march. God turned it into a game changer that has lasted longer than any athletic game changer ever because….….  At this point he let a white helium balloon shoot to the church top and on it was written “Christ is Risen”. Now, back to the start of this paragraph – If I told you the above , would you believe me?  I was trying to hear all and catching enough to know it was a Child success. I had to run to catch up. Thank you Carl and  forgive me for lagging in your race!  Parish Friends, go to www.LNPC.org. Hear it first hand!

Scripture  Read by John Denton
John 11: 17-27…
The Lazarus story. Jesus says “ I am the resurrection and the life……..”
Luke 24: 1-12…..
Finding the tomb empty, the women were amazed and then terrified when Angels appeared to remind all what Jesus had said
( Remember you must read the scripture from the Bible to get the full reading)

Sermon
“ The Resurrection Changes Everything”
Pastor Paul Reeves

None of us would be in church today if Jesus had not risen from the dead. You could read the Bible back to front – all was verified –  all was a miracle. Jesus said I am the resurrection. Whoever believes in me shall never die but have eternal life. If Jesus did all that was in the Bible just think how much more he can transform us and what He can do with our church!

Do you remember the Hadron Collider in Geneva. For fifty years scientists believed in this and anticipated the results. In July 2012 they were waiting. Waiting to find “The God Particle”. They believed they would find it – something they had never seen, yet something they believed in. Think about the Christian timing in relation to this. The scientists fervently believed and hoped for 50 years. Yet Christians have believed for over 2000 years in something most of us did not see. It’s not an irrational belief  because we see God’s work and miracles. We know through our faith we are saved

There was no Messiah who ever came back to life. Jesus was the only one who rose from the dead. Pastor Paul told the story of a lady who owned a German Shepherd dog. She let it outside and later looked over and saw it shaking a rabbit. Her neighbor had a pet rabbit and she was in anguish. She had to do something. She ran out, grabbed the dog and took the rabbit which was dead. She brought it in the house washed it, dried the hair and then crept to the rabbit hutch in the neighbor’s yard and carefully laid the rabbit inside. Then she ran back home. Later she heard a piercing scream. She ran outside and asked her neighbor what was wrong. The neighbor simply said, “ My rabbit”. The lady said “oh, I’m sorry it looks like it died”. But the neighbor gasped “ But it died two weeks ago and I buried it and now here it is again in its hutch. How did it get back here?”

How would you feel if someone died and then they came back to life?  Joyful?  Fearful? Amazed?  It would be a life changing event! And it was a life changing event 2000 years ago and still is today!

This 2000 year old miracle has touched deeply the lives of so many. Pastor Paul’s grandfather was a missionary in China in 1947. When the war broke out he had to leave. He was concerned about his group of Christians there and knew how hard it would be to continue with the Communist government. In 1980 his son, Paul’s uncle,  went back with him to visit the area where he had been. Many of the people he had been with were still alive. They immediately came to him with boxes of Bibles and other items he had left behind for them. They had buried them and kept them for the day they could be used  They kept their faith –  the government could not destroy their Christian beliefs.

If you are wondering if God loves you. Look at the cross and understand that Jesus absorbed all of our brokenness and made a new covenant of Love and Forgiveness     .
“ I am the Good Shepherd  and I will lead you out”
“He who has not sinned cast the first stone”
“Abide in my love”
“Come to me ye who are weary and I will give you rest
“ Seek and you shall find”

Remember the Power of the Vine which holds us in strength always. It gives us, as the branches, our core  of strength. Remember we are all a Christian Family in Faith

Belief is on the inside. It is not on the outside. All we need to do is open the door and walk in. So often we let others and other things get in our way of moving forward, of opening the door. They can interfere with our faith. Be careful. Don’t let the non believer get in the front of the line ahead of you and block the door!. Christ is the leader and you need to know that – always!. Have you ever been in a line waiting for a store to open?. Everyone says the door is not open because that’s what they think. Finally someone says “ Did you try it?”  That person tries it. Sure enough it is open. All of the non believers held up the line because thy didn’t open the door. Be that one believer that opens the door – be Christ’s leader. Keep faith as your focus. Put only Christ in front of you in the line

Pearls Of Wisdom For Daily Living
Lift yourself out of the small room of self preoccupation and into the world of Grace and Love. Live the life of Christ. Live “ The Attitude of God

Have Joy in The Lord
The Lord is Your Strength
Remember in all parts of your life
1.    God made me
2.    God forgives me
3.    God has compassion
4.    God helps us to be strong

The Joy of The Lord Gives Us Strength

Even when young,  God was always there
God knows me when I pray and He helps me with my fears
I feel I have an ownership and a connection to this church
Faith is Trust
Love the Lord with all your heart – no matter what

Love in Christ.❤
Pat and Joe