Dad, Mark, Steph, Donna, Ross and I went to the 8am Easter service on Sunday. I really liked the message this year. Oh, and the big sun thingy was pretty impressive too :) For those of you who don't get the Hybels enews I thought I'd post it here.
Dear Enews Friend,
Every once in a while something happens that takes your breath away...(as recently as an hour ago, walking across the Willow parking lot, driving snow and 30 mph winds took my breath and half of my Seven Eleven coffee away...but I digress)
This past weekend Willow held 6 Easter services on the South Barrington campus and 8 services at our regional campuses. What God did truly took our collective breath away. For months I had been ruminating on an idea that was originally prompted by Jesus' words in John 10:7 where he said, "I am the door." From there I thought about the resurrection "door" (i.e. the stone in front of the tomb). From there my mind went to Ephesians 1:19-20 where we are reminded that "the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead" is available to normal people in today's world who demonstrate child-like faith. Long story short, I asked our production staff and volunteers to build 5 massive doors and to roll them onto the stage at the beginning of my talk. In the message, I explained that not only is the record of the risen Christ true from a historical perspective but it is relevant to every human being, because the power that opened the resurrection door can also open significant doors in each of our lives, including the door to redemption.
As the service ended I asked anyone who felt they could benefit from walking up onto the stage and through one of the doors that represented a pressing need in their life that resurrection power might assist them with, to feel free to head toward the front. What happened next was something all of us at Willow will take to our graves. People started moving. Lots of people. Thousands of people in each of the services. Gene Appel and I stood on the stage for almost an hour after every service praying with as many people who asked us to for the needs in their lives. The same kind of fruit was born at each of our regional sites. We lost track of how many people walked through the "Redemption Door", humbly acknowledging their need for forgiveness and readiness to follow Christ. My favorite story was from a Willow woman who has prayed for her mother for 32 years. She almost fainted when her once hard-hearted mom asked her to hang around for a few minutes because she had a door she needed to walk through...yep...The Redemption Door!
Every once in a while Acts 2:43 gets played out in a modern day church, "and everyone was filled with awe". All of you have felt it at one time or another, and when you do you give all the credit to God--never forget it.
Usually I write these enews from an airport or hotel room when I am on the road trying to serve leaders of churches around the world. Usually I write about churches that I run into somewhere in the world that remind me that because of the power of the love of Christ, "the local church is the hope of the world!" This morning I write to you from the snowy, windblown campus of the church that God birthed in a movie theater 31 year ago. This morning I am freshly reminded how much I love what God has called me to do, and how much I love this church called Willow.
P.S. This weekend I begin a 2 part series called "The Audacity of Love". I hope you can be a part of it and spread the word!