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The Bible gives us a great alternative: “Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apos-tles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.” This was a man for whom the gospel had a deep impact in his heart and a wide impact in his life. Jesus’ love had changed him so much that he got the nickname “Son of Encouragement.” Wouldn’t that be a nice nickname to have? What would be your nickname? One way he showed the impact of the gospel was selling a field and bringing all the money to the apostles. He didn’t have to. He wanted to! Jesus’ love spread wide in his life.

 

“That doesn’t happen anymore…” It sure does! God points out generosity as proof of the gospel’s work in our lives. This year at our church has been filled with generosity. After our financial challenges a year ago, there’s been a big increase in our offerings. We’re ready to receive a new pastor this week! We’ve had dozens of gifts of all sizes come into our capital campaign, including some for tens of thousands of dollars. What a beautiful thing! The way you use your money is a clear indication of where your heart is. How deep Christ’s love has sunk. How wide it has spread. Jesus’ resurrection is changing us. It’s going deeper and deeper and wider and wider…

What an encouragement! We need that. We need each other’s help to grasp how wide and deep Jesus’ love is. Martin Luther was once going through a difficult time in his life. One day he came home from church and found his wife Katie wearing all black. He was surprised. “What’s going on?” Katie said, “Jesus died.” Martin said, “That’s crazy! What are you talking about? Jesus didn’t die again!” Katie said, “No, it’s true. Jesus must be dead or Martin Luther wouldn’t mope around here so sad!” What was she saying? If Jesus rose, how can that not affect our lives in every way? Moms—keep helping your children and your husbands grasp the love of Christ!

My sons love to throw rocks into lakes or ponds. Not little rocks, of course. Big rocks! When you throw a big rock in a pond, what happens? That rock sinks down deep, but as it sinks—you can picture this—the ripples spread across the entire lake, all the way to the shore. Deep and wide. That’s the power of the gospel—the “Good News from the Grave.” It’s great our kids are sharing the Easter message with us again today, because we need to hear it over and over again. It’s always Easter season! May you grasp how wide and long and high and deep the love of Christ is! Jesus’ resurrection changes everything.

 

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