Fresh Hope in the Easter Retelling
A fact of life is that life is not fair. That is why we need Easter.
The Easter account turns apparent injustice into the triumph of divine justice. Jesus lived the embodiment of love and grace. He healed the sick, freed the demon possessed, raised dead people to life and taught with authority never seen before or since.
Despite who Jesus was, his followers watched the greatest miscarriage of justice in history. Not only was Jesus not a criminal, he was sinless. This man who loved like no other person in history, died one of the cruelest deaths humanity has ever imagined.
I have conversations with people where they complain that they have been mistreated—life is unfair. There are times I feel misunderstood and unfairly treated. In some situations we think God is unfair. Why has He not made life easier or why has God not answered my prayers? Yet, nothing we experience comes close to the injustice of the cross.
Jesus suffered and died for us all. The story does not end with the cross. Jesus rose on Sunday morning, breaking the power of sin and death. The greatest injustice in his death became the greatest triumph in human history.
II Corinthians 8:9 says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” His suffering led to our spiritual riches—hope of eternity in heaven.
There are some preachers who teach that the riches of the above verse mean that committed Christians should all be ‘healthy, wealthy and wise.’ They say that the richest of the above verse can be named and claimed for our immediate pleasure. However we know that while we pray for the blessings, we often face life’s challenges.
This way of thinking misrepresents the experience of the disciples and what the New Testament teaches about suffering and the cross. Paul writes in Philippians 1:29,30, “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.”
The truth is that following Jesus does not remove the injustice from our life, but our faith does bring hope that God can turn our injustice into triumph—our cross into victory. May this Resurrection season encourage us to press on in the challenges of life and experience God’s surprising grace. Have a glorious Easter season!
Passover Seder on Tuesday, April 16th
Our church’s Passover Seder meal has become an important part of our Easter Week traditions. On Tuesday, April 16th, the Tuesday evening Bible study group will have a meal that will reflect the Passover meal that Jesus celebrated with his disciples the night before his crucifixion.
The purpose of this meal is to learn more about the connection between the Passover event and Jesus becoming the Passover lamb. It has been a part of our tradition to host this meal on Tuesdays. In keeping with Old Testament instruction, the meal will feature lamb and matzos bread, in addition to traditions from the Passover meal. There are also hymns and Scripture read.
If you are not a part of this Bible study group, you are welcome to join us for this special event. The program starts at 7:00 PM, Tuesday, April 16th. Come ready to eat a meal and a donation will be taken to cover food costs. Plan to make this event a part of your Easter week.
Resurrection Sunday: April 21st
Here is a brief overview our Resurrection Sunday at Fort Lee Gospel Church.
The day starts with a 6:30 AM Sunrise Service at the park across form the church. The service includes songs, scripture and a short message with the backdrop of the rising sun in a public setting. If weather is too cold or too wet, we will meet inside the church. Breakfast follows at the church.
Our 11:00 AM Resurrection Service is a time to remember and rejoice in the reason for our faith—Christ is risen. Music will be joyful and the message will look to Jesus as our foundation of hope. We expect a full church including many visitors.
This year we will lead a service at Brightside Manor, an assisted living home in Teaneck. The group going to the home will leave church at about 1:15 PM. This ministry has been especially well received in the past year as the seniors enjoy the music, scripture and prayers.
April 7: Baptism & Guest Preacher
The typical conversion story in the New Testament includes the new Christian being baptized in water. Jesus commanded his disciples to ‘go and make disciples . . . baptizing them . . .”
On Sunday, April 7th, we plan to have a baptism service during the 11:00 AM service. If you have not been baptized as an adult by immersion, we would like to speak with you more about what the Bible says on this topic and how it is practiced in our tradition.
In addition to the baptism service we have a guest preacher, Dr. Michael Staples, president of Scripture Union. We have used Scripture Union material for our Vacation Bible School and mission trips. Dr. Staples has ministered extensively in the US, South Africa, and India.
We look forward to a special Sunday on April 7th as we witness those who will be baptized along with hearing an encouraging message on God’s work in our world.
April Events at Fort Lee Gospel Church
11:00 AM Worship Service Our weekly service including worship through singing, prayer, preaching and fellowship. Nursery and three children’s classes are available.
9:00 AM Chinese Worship Service The Chinese worship service is led by Pastor Sandy Xie and she can be reached at 917-593-0420.
1:30 PM Korean Worship Service Contact Pastor Jaedoo Lee for further details at 646-464-2448.
5:30 PM Spanish Worship Service Contact Rev. Esteban Canales at 973-510-8834 for more details.
7:00 PM, April 7 Evening Service Our Sunday evening service usually meets on the first and third Sunday of the month, but will only meet once this month.
1:30 PM, Apr 14 & 28 NYC Nursing Home Ministry A group leads a service twice a month at a nursing home in NYC.
12:30 PM, Apr 14 Church Dinner Our monthly meal will take place after the worship service on Palm Sunday.
1:15 PM, Apr 21 Seniors Ministry A group leads a service at an assisted living facility in Teaneck. The service will be special as it is on Easter Sunday.
12:30 PM, Tuesdays Men’s Lunch & Bible Study We meet for a meal before we study the Bible and pray together.
7:30 PM, Tuesdays Bible Study The group is starting a new Study in March.
6:00 AM, Wednesdays Morning Prayer Morning prayer meeting on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Noon, April 19 Good Friday Service hosted by Fairview Gospel (see page 4)
7:30 PM, April 19 Good Friday Service Fort Lee Gospel’s Good Friday Service (see page 4)
6:00 AM Morning Prayer Morning prayer meeting combining personal and group prayer meets every Saturday.
2:00 PM, Apr 13 & 27 Women’s Bible Study This group meets on alternating Saturdays.
6:00 PM, Apr 6 & 20 Youth Group For those in 6th grade through their teens.
Women’s Spring Social: May 4
The women have planned their Spring Social for Saturday, May 4th. The evening will start at 6:30 PM and run until about 8:30 PM. Women are encouraged to bring light refreshments.
The program will include some worship and teaching. It is also a great event to meet and get to know other women of the church. Past years have been a real blessing to each of the women who have attended.
If you have questions, please see Claudette or Patricia for more details. Ladies, mark your calendars.
Easter Week 2019 Programs
11:00 AM Palm Sunday, April 14
We start our Easter week with a special service remembering Jesus as he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. We will celebrate with palm branches and joyful song, a meal and baby blessing.
7:00 PM, April 16 Passover Meal
Our Tuesday Evening Bible study will host a Passover / Seder Meal for our church. This meal will imitate the Last Supper that Jesus shared with his disciples. The church is invited to join the Tuesday Bible Study for this meal including Lamb and unleavened bread.
Noon – 3:00 PM Good Friday Service
This service is at Fairview Gospel Church and includes pastors from various churches, including Pastor Rick. Fairview Gospel is at 724 Fairview Ave. in Fairview, NJ.
7:30 PM Good Friday Service, April 19
Our Good Friday service includes participation with other churches in our building. This service looks at the cross and remembers what Jesus has done for us. We will also celebrate the Lord’s supper together.
6:30 AM Sunrise Service, April 21
This service remembers the wonder of the women and disciples who discovered an empty tomb, meeting at the park across the street, weather permitting.
11:00 AM Resurrection Service, Apr 21
Our main Easter service will include joyous music, testimonies and a hope filled message as we remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is a great opportunity to invite a friend who usually does not attend our church.