The Spirit Illuminates

I’m so excited about our new series titled “Holy Spirit”. If we are going to experience the fullness of God’s work in us as a family of redeemed sinners, it won’t happen apart from understanding and yielding to who the Spirit is and what the Spirit wants to do in each of us personally and our church corporately. The Holy Spirit makes Jesus real to us. The Holy Spirit awakens us to God and what He is doing all around us. The Spirit’s work is vast and vital.

In our message this coming Sunday, we are going to explore three elements of the Spirit’s work in our lives. But He does far more than just three things. I wanted to take just a few minutes to share with you one aspect of His work that we won’t be able to address this coming Sunday.

When I was a kid, I used to love catching lightening bugs (fireflies). How cool is a bug with a bulb on its backside? I recently read a fascinating story about the synchronous firefly, found only in a few places in the world. You can see this rare species with a short drive to the Allegheny National Park (Tennessee) or Congaree National Forest (South Carolina). These fireflies all light up at the same time. One spectator said it was like watching the Milky Way “flash on and then off”. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see the dark sky illuminated all at once by a hundred thousand fireflies showing of their glory in one spectacular mating ritual (that’s why they do it)?

To illuminate something is to “cast light on” or “make something brighter”. That’s what the Spirit does for us concerning the things of God. He enables us to see what we would not otherwise be able to see without His light.

Here’s what we often vastly underestimate about our capacity for God. We have no shot at understanding God or the gospel or what it means to follow Jesus apart from the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit. Paul speaks to this in 1 Corinthians 2:14:

“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

The world – and we are all products of a worldly way of thinking as a natural person – has rejected the Spirit (John 14:17). Consequently, we cannot understand the things of God. Worldly wisdom rejects the wisdom of God revealed by the cross of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:18). This is a by-product of our fallen, sinful nature. In addition, the Enemy blinds us to the beauty of God (2 Corinthians 4:4).

Without the Spirit giving us light, trying to understand spiritual things is like asking a newborn to do calculus. It’s beyond our reach. What this means practically is that our pursuit of God – through spiritual disciplines, by faith, in community – is always a spiritual journey.

We, of course, use our mind when pursuing God. But pursuing God is not only a pursuit of the mind or heart. The Spirit must turn the light on for us. The gracious work of God is to enable us to “see” the Kingdom (John 3:3; Acts 16:14; Ephesians 1:18; Rom 2:29; 2 Cor 3:15-16). The work of the Spirit is to dispel darkness and point us to Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Where we see Jesus most clearly is in God’s Word. The Spirit opens our deaf ears and blinded eyes to see the truth about God revealed to us in the Word of God. Intellect alone will not make us believe in God and follow Jesus. The Spirit must bring His beauty, truth, power, and love into the light and enable us to see it.

What does this mean for us practically as we seek to deepen our relationship with Jesus? It means (at least) two things:

  1. Embrace the reality that your relationship with Jesus requires supernatural intervention. You and I cannot – in our own strength, mental capacity, intellect – rightly understand the things of God. God certainly uses means of grace (prayer, Bible study, biblical community, suffering, etc.) to grow us in godliness, but none of those means of grace can be rightly applied or engaged in apart from the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit. So, we need to ask the Spirit to work through whatever means of grace God provides to make us more like Jesus.
  2. Ask God to open your eyes when you seek Him in the Word. The psalmist prayed, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psalm 119:18). Every encounter with God in His Word should be preempted by a humble acknowledgement we are completely dependent upon God to rightly understand who He is in His Word. Ask the Spirit to show you God’s intended meaning for you that reaches far beyond the ink that forms the words impressed upon the pages of Scripture.

I’m praying we would all rightly discover more intimacy with God as the Spirit lights our path to show us the beauty and all-surpassing worth of Jesus.

Seeking the Spirit’s Illuminating Light Together,

Pastor Aaron

Make a Joyful Noise, Together

Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.

Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.

Psalm 96

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
    break forth into
joyous song and sing praises!
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
    with the lyre and the sound of melody!
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
    make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord!

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
    the world and those who dwell in it!
Let the rivers clap their hands;
    let the hills sing for joy together
 before the Lord.

Psalm 98

A little about singing.

In those verses, “sing” is mentioned 6 times and “joy” is referenced 4 times. As we know, when things are repeated in the Bible, we should probably pay attention.

God commands us to sing, as even He sings over His people (Zephaniah 3:17). If we are to be like Him, singing should be a natural response. However, in our human condition, singing is an action that can be separated from the condition of our heart; A joyful noise is different – it is a reflection of our heart. Our musical talent (or lack thereof), our comfort, and even our song preference cannot quench a joyful noise. A joyful noise can be made in any circumstance – a season of blessings or a season of sorrow – because joy is not dependent on our feelings, it is dependent on the finished work of Jesus. A joyful noise is our response to what is already done. Therefore, joy should be evident in our singing.

With that established, why do we sing together?

Imagine you’re at a concert of a major hit band. For example, my family went to see the Eagles last year. Guaranteed everyone knows at least one lyric to one of their songs. Picture the band coming out on stage, the first chord is played and the arena becomes alive with lights, sounds, and voices. You quickly realize the stranger to your left and right are singing the same words you are. What do you feel? Unified and excited – an atmosphere has changed. You don’t even know these people, but you’re all having a great time because you all know and love this band and song.

Unified voices are powerful, exciting, loud, and effective. An atmosphere changes when the Holy Spirit is present and we, God’s people, are singing together. We’re proclaiming the gospel, together. We’re lifting Jesus high, together. You’re making a statement to the people on your left and your right that you know and love the One we are singing to. Singing in unity encourages the entire body. Singing over one another is commanded.

Ephesians 5:19-20 says, “be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

Being committed to vertically focused, theologically rich songs here at Community Bible means we are also committed a congregation fully engaged and singing the Word over one another. Your singing is encouraging someone near you in a season of struggle. Your singing is reminding someone the truth of the Gospel. Your singing is a testimony in your own struggle that you can still make a joyful noise in sorrow.

So, how do we prepare to sing together at Community Bible?

Within the parameters of vertically focused, theologically accurate songs, we plan our worship each week to thematically lead us to response. Thematic planning gives us an entire morning to lean in to a specific aspect of who God is or a Truth He is trying to teach us. Each sermon series is planned out in advance and song selections are made based on the passage of Scripture we’re going to be studying. For example, our worship story two weeks ago looked something like this:

All the Earth sings of creation who was made to praise our Creator. Recognition of our sin that separated us from our Creator lead us to repentance and Jesus Thank You. Because of Christ’s sacrifice reconciling us to the Father, we are secure in our identity (Who You Say I Am). This set our hearts on a path of full focus on our lives hidden in Christ. Aaron preached on Obedience and in order to fully surrender our lives in obedience to Christ, we must let all worldly things Fade Away.

We don’t pick songs at random or just because they’re popular. They’re prayerfully considered and planned in advance because we want to steward the time we have together well. We want to sing as we are commanded, not only growing in our own relationship with Jesus, but growing in unity as we make a joyful noise, together.

Does Gathering Together for Worship Really Matter?

On those days that you just don’t feel like rolling out of bed on a Sunday morning, and I’ve been there many times myself, let me assure you, it’s worth it! I’ll also confess gladly, that there has rarely, if ever, been a time where I regretted afterwards that I pushed through and came.  This is not a push to guilt anyone into coming to church.  Please understand! In the same way that God desires that we give and serve from a glad and joyful heart, I believe He desires that we come together with glad hearts.  We may not start from a place of gladness, but hopefully, prayerfully and expectantly we’ll get there!! It does start, often, from an attitude of obedience.  But obedience leads to joy most often.  In our Western culture of over emphasis on only doing what makes us feel good at the time, we in the church often fall prey to that thinking.  Thoughts like, “Oh, I just don’t feel like going today” or “I don’t really need to go” or “The series we are in right now doesn’t really appeal to me”, etc. all point to the self-centered approach we often take towards the regular gathering together of  God’s people for prayer, worship, taking communion, experiencing someone’s baptism, encouragement and edification in the Word (both of others and us). So why is gathering together regularly so important?

First, Jesus modeled it.  We see this in His own relationship within the Trinity: Father, Son & Holy Spirit. From eternity past, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit dwelt in perfect unity, harmony and fellowship. There was unity in oneness. There was unbroken fellowship and joy within the godhead.  And as John Piper says in Desiring God, “the eternal happiness of the triune God spilled over in the work of creation and redemption”.  Jesus also modeled this in His earthly life as He gathered for worship in the synagogue regularly (Matthew 4:23, 9:35).  Jesus was with people, engaging people, listening to and conversing with people generally, but also at set times.  It was His habit to gather regularly with people in the temple courts, the synagogues and in homes. Second to His love of being with His Father, was His being with us! Jesus came to be with us (Emmanuel, God with us!) 

Second, the people of God modeled it. We see this clearly in the early church in the book of Acts (2:42-47).  They lived together in community.  They hung out together. They shared their stuff together.  They worshipped together. They took meals together.  They listened to the teaching of God’s Word together. They served together. They took communion together, and all of these things done regularly but together.  They, like God, experienced great and deep abiding joy as they lived life together.  There was an amazing joy of being together in worship and doing life together. They also suffered through the trials of life together.

Third, the Scriptures model and call us to this. Hebrews 10:24-25 calls us to come together regularly and to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together as is the habit of some. Oh, the deep joy, peace, contentment and power we often miss when we refuse to gather together regularly.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book Life Together says, “The physical presence of other believers is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer.  How else can we stir one another to love and good deeds unless we meet together? And when we meet, it should not be for glib conversation but for godly consecration, centered around the Word of God and prayer to God. And all the more as we see the Day of His return drawing nigh!”

So, brothers and sisters, I encourage you to continue to come together regularly! It is for God’s glory and your good. I highly recommend Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s short but powerful book, Life Together.

Yes I Will

This past weekend it was my joy to serve on the worship team during the morning services. It’s hard to believe that I have played drums for 30 years now, and it is remarkable how the Lord has used music in my life over those years. I was able to play for two sitting US presidents during my high school years – not something I ever dreamed would be on my resume. Then I went to college at UNC Chapel Hill, where I had the opportunity to play for very large crowds, even over 100,000 people on several occasions as a member of the UNC Marching Tar Heels. In the colder months I would trade my snare drum and marching band uniform for a drum kit and a seat in the basketball pep band. As a lifelong Tar Heel fan, I am overwhelmed to think of how privileged I was to get to play drums for teams coached by Dean Smith and Bill Guthridge. I played in the Dean Dome for home games, in Greensboro and Charlotte for ACC tournament games, and in various arenas across the country for the NCAA tournament games. My first several flights were chartered thanks to the opportunities the Lord made available to me through the music program at UNC. I will always be grateful for the great opportunities the Lord has made available to me through music.

And it was through music that I was first able to serve the Bride of Christ. Through various churches I have been able to play music that praised the name of Jesus while making great friends and great memories. When my wife Erin and I first came to Community Bible in 2005 it was through the music ministry that I first got plugged into the church. Jon Eric had only been at the church for a little over a year when we showed up for the first time. There was a choir on the stage, an acoustic guitarist, a keyboardist, a saxophonist (Jon Eric) and a guy playing electronic drums on the floor in front of the stage. I was not impressed. But the Lord began to show how the gifts He’d given me were to serve the church and He began to grow me in really significant ways over the next 14 years.

With my role now as Discipleship & Administration Pastor I have lots of other commitments on Sunday mornings so it is rare that I’m available to serve on the worship team, as I did this week. But being back in the saddle was a great encouragement to me this week. I mean, I definitely became aware of just how rusty I’d gotten when I sat behind the drum kit at practice on Wednesday, and I also realized how soft my hands had gotten! But as I studied the music for this week and contemplated the lyrics, the Lord really helped me connect deeply to one particular song. The third song we sang on Sunday is called “Yes I Will” and the Lord ministered to me through that song, even during my prep for Sunday’s worship services.

The verse goes like this:

I count on one thing

The same God that never fails

Will not fail me now

You won’t fail me now

In the waiting

The same God who’s never late

Is working all things out

You’re working all things out

I love how this verse proclaims the unchangeable faithfulness of our God. It’s both beautiful and appropriate to celebrate the great attributes of God. Among those attributes are his faithfulness and sovereignty.

God never fails. So even in my time of need I can count on God coming through for me. In other words, even though my circumstances have taken a turn for the worst, I can be full of faith that God is still able, interested, and faithful to provide. God is not subject to circumstances. Indeed, He stands above circumstances. But often our faith is swayed by the circumstances around us. While we are called to be steadfast and immovable (1 Cor. 15:58) we sometimes feel like we are getting tossed to and fro by life.

But even in the being tossed we have a choice.

We can choose to praise the Lord. And we should do just that.

After recognizing the attributes of God in the verse, I love how the song lyrics move to praising the Lord in the chorus:

Yes I will lift You high

In the lowest valley

Yes I will bless Your name

Yes I will sing for joy

When my heart is heavy

All my days yes I will

The song writers go on to declare the choice that they’re making:

I choose to praise

To glorify glorify

The name of all names

That nothing can stand against

As I listened to and studied this song last week I was really struck by the declarations of praise “I will lift You high… I will bless Your name… I will sing for joy… I choose to praise”. These lyrics exhort us to move beyond the emotions of our circumstances and to worship the One who is praise-worthy. And what motivates this praise? The recognition of the worthiness of the One whose name is above every name (Phil.2:9). In good times and bad, in the ups and the downs, in the happy and the sad, God remains steadfast and worthy of our praise.

I had to ask myself how consistently I’m faithful to praise the Lord, even through the ups and downs of life. I wish that I could say I’d achieved a Grade A rating, but often times I also find myself being distracted by my circumstances and my gaze is taken off of the Anchor and becomes fixed on the waves. Sometimes I fall into a “what has God done for me lately” mentality instead of remembering Who I have the privilege of worshiping.

So, my encouragement to the church is to consider Hebrews 12:28 which reads, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe”.  Looking beyond your circumstances fix your worship on the Almighty, who was and is and is to come, and who is worthy of our praise.

I’m grateful to God for my church family, the opportunities and gifts He has given me to serve the church, and for the gift of music as a means to worship Him. This past week served as a good reminder to me of how music continues to be a gift to me and how service through music is a means of God’s grace in my life.

What means of grace can you recognize in your own life? Even if you’re in a difficult season, there are various means that God is using for you. Identify those and praise the Lord!

Forgetful Hearts

Easter is my favorite time of year. I recently heard that according to the church calendar, Easter actually lasts for 50 days. I would like to propose that we all commit to wearing pastel colors and provide Cadbury eggs to the congregation during these days at CBC. Who do I need to speak to about that?  (Joking, joking…)

In all seriousness, Easter can splash by us like a rock skipping on a lake.   Many of us moved from praising our risen Lord in the morning to vacation mode or back-to-work-the-next-day mode in a matter of hours. As believers, we live in the shadow of Easter every day, but as we know, we are a forgetful people.  

The message of Easter is a familiar one to most of us, but still we move through it, here today gone tomorrow. The Lord knows that we are forgetful, and he reminds us to remember again and again, no matter how familiar the message. Peter tells us, “So, I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.” Not only does he give us his own Word so that we will always have the “remembering” at our fingertips and in our heart, he writes the story of Easter so our eyes can see it. I heard someone say last week, “Isn’t it beautiful how creation tells the Easter story over and over again?” Yes, it certainly is.

Some years ago, long before we moved into this house, someone planted a magnolia tree in our back yard. It’s a rare kind, according to my dad who knows about such things. When we moved in a few years ago, it quickly became my favorite view. It grew up tall and huge, shading the corner of our sun-room and perfectly hiding the unattractive corner where the air conditioning unit and coiled-up hose lived. 

However, apparently its glorious leaves and branches that I loved to see draped over the corner of my house were (not quite so gloriously) threatening to rub the shingles off the roof. One summer day last year, my husband casually mentioned that he was going to trim it back “because it’s brushing all over the roof.”

I headed out for the afternoon and this husband of mine—whom I will identify by his initials to protect his identity B(ert) W(ilson)— killed my tree. All that remained was a sawed off fat stick in the ground with spiny looking angry branches that poked out from its once beautiful form. I sputtered and stared and may have gotten a few tears in my eyes and said (yelled), “What have you DONE to my tree?? You killed it!”

“Of course I did!  It was destroying the roof, Shannon!”

For the past year I have stared bleakly in the direction of my once beautiful tree, hating the stumpy spiny thing that remained, lonely for its previous shape and health and life and shade. A few weeks ago I walked out onto my porch and sat down facing the used-to-be-tree. The tree that was dead. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Out of the spiny hideous poking remains bloomed the most pristine, perfect white flowers. My dead tree (indeed, dead!) was suddenly gloriously bursting with life. 

I stared and then cried as this tree proclaimed the story of Easter to me. It shouted it with flitters of joy in the petals of those flowers. “Remember Jesus!” It said. “Remember the good news!” And I did. I remembered that his body was once dead. Dead! His body was ruined, crushed, destroyed, pierced, buried behind the rock and sealed in death…. until LIFE burst forth where there was no life. This is the resurrection story of my Jesus written on the white bursts of life on that tree. Before my very eyes. 

I love Easter and I loved celebrating here at CBC among our body. I love that one week later I sat and thought of that magnolia tree again as Pastor Aaron painted the picture of my heart- our hearts. Dead. Without life. No thready pulse, no shallow breath indicating life. No life. 

“You (me, us!) were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ!”

Because of HIS life bursting forth that Easter morning, our hearts that were dead can burst to life.

We heard from Ezekiel the prophet that it is the LORD who does this. HE washes us with clean water so we can be clean. HE cleanses us from all our idols.  He gives us a new heart and a new spirit. HE doesn’t just give our old heart a jolt, he removes it (as it was dead and made of stone!) and puts a new soft heart within us —  one that will love the Lord our God. One that will  mark us as a child of God. One that was bought for us with the blood of his Son. 

And into the world we go with our new hearts pumping the life of Christ in our veins. No longer are we followers of the course of the world and the prince of the power of the air, but we are followers of our Jesus who died and gave himself for us. 

So, Happy Easter (again and still), brothers and sisters of Community Bible Church.  It is a joy to walk with you in the newness of life. Let’s be on the lookout for the story of Jesus as creation proclaims it in these weeks and tell others what we see! 

Loving Like Amnon

The appalling and unsettling story of Amnon and Tamar in 2 Samuel 13 was the subject matter of Aaron’s recent messages on sexual sin and past trauma. The passage paints a grim picture: In Amnon’s broken desire for his half-sister, he “made himself ill.” After he had violated her, Scripture describes Amnon’s twisted emotional response: “… for the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her.” In the tragic aftermath of Amnon’s sin, he sends Tamar away in turmoil and shame.

I was recently praying about a challenging relationship when I sensed the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit speak to my heart: “Susan, you’re loving like Amnon.” I was jolted into attention. I continued to pray and recognized that this was a correct assessment of my heart. Amnon’s so-called love came with an agenda, was self-serving, and evaporated when his planning didn’t produce the desired result. I couldn’t claim that my love was much better in the relational challenge I was currently encountering.

Our Amnon-love is hereditary. The sin of Adam and Eve found its origin in a self-serving agenda. They saw that the forbidden fruit was “good for food, a delight to the eyes, and desirable to make one wise,” and they wanted it more than they wanted to obey God. So they ate it. In their futile attempt to hide from God and each other, “… they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.”

This act of self-protection was something new. Prior to their sin, they had no thought of self-preservation or self-justification. Sin brought with it a devastating and sinful self-orientation that has infected every person who has ever been born. Not one of us is exempt. We are prone to love like Amnon.

The inescapable truth is that we want our own way. We’re those wayward sheep in Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way.”  And when wayward self-interested sheep bump into each other, the bleating begins.

One of the most beautiful passages in Scripture is found in Philippians 2. It doesn’t use the word “love”, but it is a perfect description of the love that God makes possible through the Holy Spirit who indwells us:

     Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard

     one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal

     interests, but also for the interests of others  (verses 3-4).

Paul David Tripp describes what happens in our hearts when we love with an agenda. He describes Amnon-love: “If sin turns me in on myself so that all I live for is me, then sin in its essence is antisocial. Living for myself and the satisfaction of my selfish desires dehumanizes the people in my life. No longer are they people to me. No longer are they objects of my affection and service. No, my loved ones and friends are reduced either to vehicles to help me get what I want or to obstacles in the way of what I want. When they deliver what I want, I speak kindly to them, not actually because I love them, but because I love myself and the fact that they have satisfied my desires. When they get in the way of what I want, I speak unkindly to them because I love myself, and they have made the mistake of getting in the way of what I crave.”

In Relationships: A Mess Worth Making, authors Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp get specific about what it looks like when our loving looks like Amnon’s:

  •      Refusing to let go of a moment of hurt
  •      Getting angry when our children complicate/inconvenience our lives
  •      Becoming defensive when challenged
  •      Avoiding conflict out of fear
  •      Being resigned to a broken relationship that could be healed
  •      Gossiping about people
  •      Pursuing comfortable relationships and avoiding difficult ones
  •      Envying other people’s friendships
  •      Controlling relationships out of a desire for security
  •      Blowing up at people when our agendas are trampled
  •      Living in bitter isolation in the face of disappointment

One of God’s purposes for the church is to teach us to love. We’re surrounded by bleating sheep – and they get in our space and they eat our grass. God calls us to a sacrificial love that is defined by the cross of Christ. All of our love for others must find its source in that Love that provided for us a new power and a new desire to say “no” to the self-protection and self-orientation that is our natural Adam-and-Eve inherited inclination.

When we think of Amnon and his sin against Tamar, we can readily comfort ourselves and dismiss any personal conviction, because we have never been violently or aggressively abusive. But when we dig a little deeper, we realize our love is often Amnon-love in seed form, bearing no resemblance to the patience, kindness, and goodness that the Spirit desires to produce in the hearts of those who belong to Jesus.

The love of Christ that God makes available to us and through us is costly: It requires two deaths. The first of those deaths occurred almost 2000 years ago. Christ’s death on the cross paid the penalty for our sin, so that we might be forgiven and receive new lives and new hearts. Jesus’s death paved the way for a second necessary death: our death to self. It’s a daily choice made possible by the power of God’s Spirit who lives in us, and by God’s grace which He offers freely to all of His children: my life lived for the benefit of others, or my life lived to benefit me.

Loving like Amnon doesn’t take work. It comes naturally. But something supernatural happens in the hearts of those who belong to Jesus when we surrender our desires to Him and find our satisfaction in Him. Our capacity for true love increases. Tara Barthel says, “As we trust in the Lord and persevere in love, He carves out a vast space that holds His grace in our hearts, for only He can enable us to obey the command, ‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know you are My disciples, if you love one another'”  (John 13:34-35).

I can think of no better way to celebrate Easter this year than by loving like Jesus – by the power of His blood-bought grace and for the magnifying of His resurrection glory.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!