Last night we had our first Good Friday service at Idlewild. Over the past month, I have wondered why it seems as though the only churches that have these services are the Catholic, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches. Why does it seem like Baptist churches only have "Easter Programs" or plays, instead of an organized observing and celebrating of the Friday our Lord Jesus took the Wrath of God for us? In an attempt to evangelize, I think we sometimes miss Jesus, even though our plays and programs are about him. It appears as though our programs play to an emotional experience, instead of a balanced experience. What happens is it becomes about what we can do, instead of celebrating what He has done.
Well last night, we observed and celebrated why we celebrate Good Friday. We sang songs and read Puritan prayers based upon the "precious blood". The text for the sermon was Matthew 27:45-54. With the help of James Montgomery Boice, I spoke on "The Miracle of Calvary". We seem to forget that the greatest miracle of all is that sinful man has the opportuniy to come to faith in Christ. That's why Friday is so Good.
Speaking of this, last night we didn't have a large crowd due to the vicious storms and Easter plays in the surrounding churches. However, even though I may have been frustrated with the crowd, God used the message to begin working on a 6 year old girl. It's funny, most adults sit back and because they already know the story they don't seem to realize that it still applies. On the other hand, there was this sweet child, who during the whole sermon took notes, without the help of mommy or daddy. After the service she came running up to me and says "look I took notes." As I read the notes, my heart began to break. She was really listening, and even though people have told me time and time again that children don't need to be in "big church" because they will not understand, this little girl did. In those notes was every point that I made, but what got me was she put it in first person:
1.) I am nothing but sin
2.) They nailed him to a cross
3.) Jesus is my everything
That was on a piece of paper from a six year old. God is beginning, in my opinion, to call her out to his kingdom. She is beginning to understand. She doesn't know how church "should be" nor does she know all the proper churchy lingo, and I hope she never does. What she is beginning to understand is that she needs Jesus, and I pray that during this Easter season that we realize that we are nothing more than sinful creatures, and without Jesus we are nothing. I pray that we get over our religious pride, and fall facedown at the cross and worship our Savior for taking the wrath of God for us.
God, give us all ears that hear, and hearts that obey. Have mercy on us, for we do not know what we are doing. Lead us to repentance and humility. May you be glorified with our broken lives.