Monday, April 13, 2009

The Sunday After Easter

At my old church, the first Sunday after Easter each year the pastor would say the same thing. "Last week everyone who Jesus loves came to church. This week, everyone who loves Jesus is here." In other words, Jesus loves everybody, but those who love him come to church Sundays other than Christmas and Easter.

Not surprisingly, yesterday my current church was packed. We usually have about 450 people any given Sunday, but yesterday we had approximately 700. People stood lining the back of the Sanctuary. Not enough chairs. It was wonderful to see so many people come to celebrate our risen Lord.

But why don't they come back next week? My Pastor shared "good news" with our guests yesterday: "We celebrate the risen Lord here EVERY Sunday." Hebrews 10:25 says "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

Some people give up meeting together on Sunday. Don't! You need the encouragement. This devotional gives a good example. (Author Unknown)

The story is told of a man named John who had once been faithful to attend his church regularly, but had grown lackadaisical recently. The Pastor knew that he hadn't seen the gentleman in a while, so he went for a visit. John greeted the Pastor and welcomed him in, directing him to the chair beside the fireplace. He asked the Pastor what brought him to visit, but the Pastor didn't say a word... .he simply grabbed the fireplace tongs, picked up a hot coal from the fire, and set it away from the fire, out on the hearth. Both men then watched the coal. While the fire roared on, the coal which had been red hot began to lose it's heat. It gradually lost it's red color, and then cooled off so that it became cool to the touch. The Pastor picked up the coal, and handed it to John for a moment... neither man said a word. Then the Pastor reached out and took the coal back from John, and returned it to the roaring fire... and in just a few short moments, the coal once again glowed red hot, as the pile of flaming coals caused it to heat up again. The Pastor then got to his feet, put his hat on, and shook John's hand. At that point, John looked at the Pastor with tears in his eyes, and told him "Thank you for coming, Pastor, and I'll be back in church this coming Sunday!"
Don't get burnt out. Come back to church and get on fire for Christ!

Matthew 3:11 -- {John the Baptist said} "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Acts 2:2-4 -- Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Chatty Kelly


sahala napitupulu said...

Happy Easter madame Chatty.

Joy in The Truth said...

Happy Easter Monday!

I like this fireplace analogy! Hopefully, sanctuaries will be full again next Sunday...and the Sunday after...soaking in God's truth.

Susan D said...

Wow! I love that analogy. Thanks for sharing it. Blessings, SusanD

Melanie said...

We had about 200 more than usual, too!
It was great to see a few coming in with starbucks and tatoos!
They were in the right place this Sunday.

My ADHD Me said...

I will see you on Sunday!

Greg C said...

Wow that was a thought provoking story. It is true though about the Sunday after Easter. Some people will go a second Sunday and a few less a Third and so on. The good news is that maybe one person who forced himself or herself to go on Easter was touched and will eventually be saved. And that makes it all worthwhile.

The Patterson 5 said...

During prayer time yesterday in church one member asked us to pray for those who do not have a church family, that they could experience the joy and fellowship of fellow believers every week not just on Easter. This devotion you wrote and the one you shared brings that home. May all those whom Jesus loves come and meet together every week and during the week too! Love to you!

Runner Mom said...

Kelly, this was such a great analogy! May we stay on fire for the Lord!


Leslie said...

Very cool story! One year on Easter Sunday our pastor called the kids up to the alter for children's church. He was asking them what was different about this particular Sunday. Some of the kids mentioned all of the Easter lillies in the church and how the church was decorated. One little boy spoke up and said, "All the people that are here!" Everyone laughed, including the pastor. Then the pastor said something like, "Yeah, where are you all on the other Sundays?"

Jenny said...

Great story.

B His Girl said...

I've read that story before. The pastor said everything without saying anything. Our church was also over flowing. One person accepted Christ and it was very moving. She was going down that aisle to say yes. I think she will be back. I used to be an Easter Christmas attender. I pray they experienced Jesus and not a church service. B

Toia said...

Wow!! This was a great analogy. No one wonder the pastor didn't say any words. His demonstration was definitely a mouthful. Thanks for sharing!! Happy Monday!!

Wendy Blight said...

What a beautiful analogy. It also is a perfect picture of what I feel when I fall away from my quiet time with God. When I spend time with Him, my heart feels passion and fire to share the things of God, to look for Him in my every day, to listen for His voice. When I fail to meet with Him, I feel alone, empty. I don't listen for His voice; I don't look for Him at work in my midst.

Thank you for this reminder to me to stay in the hot fire, surrounded by others who are on fire for my Lord!!!

Blessings to you,


Angela said...

What a tender and beautiful story. I have never read that one before. I hope you see some returning faces in your congregation next week.

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Happy Monday after Easter. I'm glad you're in the 30 x 5 part deux. We'll encourage each other. Sorry about the video; I'm just overwhelmed with life lately!

Sue J. said...

I read hot coals and I think about Isaiah. The hot coal put to his lips, to purify him and ready him for service to the Lord--"Here I am, Lord. Send me!"

Even those of us who generally do sit in the pew need to remember not just to sit there to take up space. We do need to be on fire!

(We had so many children, we didn't know what to do; so, I was in childcare helping out some 20 toddlers/preschoolers study with empty eggs and know that Jesus is not there--He is alive!)

Van said...

Great words for thought - why don't they come back. I also wonder- "What moves them to only come 2 X a years?" What are they thinking the other 50 Sundays? How do they justify their actions to their children? I think I am going to wake up early this Sunday and pray for al those who came to church yesterday, but are sleeping late a week later. May God wake them!

Alleluiabelle said...


This is my first time visiting your site and I wanted to introduce myself. I love the story about the coal, once burning brightly, then dimming out to almost nothing. I will always remember that now that it's placed in my mind's eye. Yes, we need to fan the flame and get it blazing for the Lord. I'm with you!

Love you post and your site.


sailorcross said...

True, true, true!! I know many people who say that they don't need "corporate" worship in order to worship God. And we can worship God anywhere, that is true.

But, when you're together with your spiritual family, seeing them, having them encourage you in your spiritual journey--what a difference this makes!!

Have a wonderful day, Kelly, and thanks for stopping by and encouraging me!!


Mary Moss said...

Great analogy. It is easy to burn out if we don't keep fanning that flame!

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Great truth here Kelly! I've been a cold ember a few times. Happily, I can say, I'm back on fire!