Preaching and Easter (Part 4)

I love soccer (English Premier League football, actually). When I get together with my one or two friends who share this passion, it is the first thing on our lips. We discuss player movement, important upcoming matches, and remarkable goals. As we’re discussing it, we realize that most of our friends and loved ones have no earthly idea what we’re talking about or why it means so much to us. The one thing they cannot help but see, however, is our passion for the game—our love of the sport. It can’t be missed, because it fairly oozes from our pores (which I suppose is one of the things that makes sports so much fun).

In speaking of the cross to those outside of Christ, we face a similar situation. We recognize that Easter is one of the few times of the year (along with Christmas) where there is still some level of cultural pressure to go to church. On Easter Sunday, that grandest of days, we have, arguably, one of our greatest evangelistic opportunities of the year. Certainly, there are no guarantees that people will get it, but it is vital for them to see the depths to which we get it. It may seem to them that we are speaking a foreign language (one reason why storytelling and visual aids can be so helpful, as we discussed in an earlier blog), but they must sense how deeply our own hearts and lives have been impacted by the work of Christ. In short, we must have passion for the Passion.

Does this mean wild-eyed screaming or empty emotion? Not really. Passion can also exist at a deep and personal level, but it must exist in our hearts or what we deliver on Sunday will be reduced to a performance rooted in the external and superficial elements of life, disconnected from the heart. Few things in ministry could be more inappropriate—or more dangerous. As we prepare, we must ask the Father to set our own hearts ablaze if we want people who need the Savior to understand the degree to which it matters.

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