I asked my Sunday School class, a faithful group of farmers and rural folks, “How do you find out what someone really needs?” They shared their thoughts on listening deeply, spending time with people to build relationships, and relying on God to give wisdom. We’ve learned how we are all shaped differently by our experiences in life, and yet every person can show love by connecting to someone and pointing the way to a relationship with God.
At Easter time I am excited to share in the celebration of the resurrection Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Nine years ago, I attended the film”The Passion”. The small brown pamphlet I found at the back of the theatre is something that none of the film’s critics will discuss. It offers answers to your deepest needs:
- pure love,
- everlasting life,
- complete forgiveness,
- ultimate wholeness.
“Our greatest felt needs are to be loved, forgiven, whole and alive.” writes Brian Mavis. A relationship with Jesus will meet your deepest needs.
Readers tell me that they appreciate the times I use scripture, and share the good news of the Gospel. I have written many things this winter about the struggles farm families are facing, yet what sustains those who have faith? I believe that the resurrected life of Jesus gives us “a reason to hope and not just cope”. My friends who are coping with a serious illness were encouraged when their doctor said; “you will make it, you are people of faith.”
I received a phone call from a frustrated farmer who wonders if he will ever be happy. His needs are to be loved, forgiven, and feel whole and alive. As a Christian I have the greatest treasure, the knowledge that God loves me unconditionally, and that when I die, I will have eternal life in heaven. My sins are forgiven, and my purpose in life is to serve God and tell others about His love for them. My theme word for 2013 is “beloved”. I am deeply loved by God and Jesus.
Billy Graham (www.billygraham.org ) told his readers : “Jesus Christ can come into your heart and forgive your sins, cleanse you and change you. Christ stands ready to give hope to everyone. Christ’s truth can make you free.” John 8:31,32 says “ “If you hold on to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
If this is the first Easter that you are truly curious about who Jesus is, I encourage you to read a recent translation of the Bible, and start with the book of John. I like the “Message” translation as it uses today’s language. I also encourage you to find a small group to study your questions about Christ, and be connected to Christian people who also struggle, yet know God’s goodness in their lives. Call the pastor of your local church, and find out how to get connected.
I’ve done a lot of speaking over the years about living an intentional life, or finding balance in a complex world. Some people think “balance” should be replaced by the word “integration.” Whatever you call it, people need to have a sense of wholeness. My pamphlet from “The Passion” talks about the followers of Jesus being devoted to Him because He took the broken pieces of their lives and gave them the peace of His life. Jesus said” Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do note let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 (NIV).
The years have whizzed by and I am still teaching adult Sunday School. This spring we are digging into the practical teachings of James, the brother of Jesus who encourages us to get results with our faith and “live it!” James also says that God will give us wisdom.
I wish you peace and wisdom as you encourage your family into the exciting new chapter of life’s adventures that God has in store for you.
When I was fifteen, Jesus met my deepest needs and I committed my life to a relationship with Him. May you find your deepest needs met this Easter, as you accept the gift of eternal life from a loving God who conquered death, and gives us hope. He is risen indeed!