Easter brings to us the truth of new beginnings. Jesus is no longer dead; he is alive. And because Jesus is alive, we have a Savior who brings to us new beginnings every day. That is exciting news because so often we live with the guilt, the shame, the regrets, and the resentment of the past. Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland (Isaiah 43:18, 19).
For you and me, this is actually a time for NEW beginnings, a new chance to get to know Jesus more deeply not only in Word but in Spirit and in life through things like personal Bible studies, small groups, a deep Christian friendship, or weekend worship.
For some, this new beginning gives us an opportunity to be honest and admit that we are broken and that we need to be made new. We can put on a pretty good façade, giving the impression that absolutely everything is okay and that we have it all together. But sometimes we are just aching on the inside. No matter who we are, we have all made mistakes, squandered opportunities, said things we shouldn’t have said. We have failed ourselves, our family, and some even feel that we have failed God. But today is a new day.
Let Jesus have your past. Quit looking behind to your past failures, mistakes, shattered dreams, and ruined relationships. Because, while we all have a past, we also ALL HAVE A FUTURE. God comes to you and me and says, “See I am doing a new thing. . . I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
Friends, see your future as God sees it. A couple of years ago, a number of students and I went over to Zambia. It was the rainy season and so all the dry, hard, cracked ground with all the lifeless bushes, grass and trees were ALIVE, vibrant and green. It was a reality that not many of us ever really thought possible from all of our pictures of Africa. God transforms the desert areas of our life into the fields of blessing and abundance.
When there seems to be no way, the Lord will create a way. When they seems to be no hope, the Lord will give us hope. When there seems to be no joy, in Christ we can discover new joy. When there seems to be no strength remaining, we learn that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. If the Lord can part the Red Sea, he can open the doors to opportunity. If the Lord can cause a virgin to conceive a child, he can bring us new life too. If the Lord can conquer death itself, he can give us a new start too.
To see the new, we need to focus our thoughts on God and our future. If we constantly look to the past, we are driving right past our present and miss blessing after blessing. God has set into motion a new direction and purpose, and so where he leads we need to follow. When he speaks, we need to listen. When he promises, we need to claim those promises. And here is the promise for you today: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning! (Lamentations 3:22,23).
Enjoy your new life in Christ!
Coming Up – I am super excited for this weekend’s worship. We will gather around God’s Word and see that because Jesus lives we can move from stressed to blessed! See you at 8:30am or 10:15am at the Ministry Center or online.
ICYMI – Easter changed everything. Jesus’ resurrection means that our lives are changed forever. Click here to watch the Easter message, the first of the Act II sermon series.
Sanctuary Art Install – The Sanctuary Art is scheduled to be installed in the worship space at our Ministry Center next week. You can look forward to seeing new furniture, lighting, and decor at church on Sunday, April 15.
Call Update – On Tuesday, Pastor Eric Hanson sent the letter below indicating that he is returning the call to Victory of the Lamb. The Leadership Team is working with our District President for our next call meeting. Be of good cheer: God already knows who he is going to send to be our next pastor!
Dear Members of Victory of the Lamb,
The last two and a half weeks has provided me a great opportunity for prayer, time in the Word, and good conversations with Victory of the Lamb members as well as St. Mark members. The Lord has provided an opportunity that is truly exciting in the potential for Gospel driven outreach and to use the gifts he has provided me. I am very impressed with the leadership of Victory as well as the passion of its people to follow Jesus’ imperative to share the sweet message of His Gospel. I am confident God is and will continue to bless your ministry.
After much consideration and deliberation, I feel the Lord is compelling me to return the call to Victory of the Lamb. Again, I thank you for your prayers and conversations. I am confident that the Lord will provide you with the right shepherd at the right time. My prayers are with you and your ministry.
In His Service with You,
Pastor Eric Hansen
Easter Worship – THANK YOU to all who invited a friend or family member to our Easter services with Facebook posts, invite cards, and personal invitations. We had 535 people attend the services and Victory Kids, including 13 first-time and second-time visitors. To God be the glory! Please pray for these visitors, that they may find a church home where they can get to know Jesus. Also, even though Easter is over, you can still invite your friends and family to come to church. On Sunday, grab a few of the new invite cards in the Welcome Area to hand out.
#BecauseofJesus – Here’s another Victory story of how one of our members spread the love of Jesus with their community. “At our church on Thanksgiving, instead of us giving to church, each family was given an envelope with cash to “pay it forward” as we wish. Our family has put our money toward a donation to Moms Mental Health Initiative. Several friends of ours have benefited from this organization recently and we’re so blessed to be able to offer some financial support so they can continue to help more people. We do this #becauseofjesus.” Do you have a story of how you’ve blessed others or been blessed by a #becauseofJesus gift? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share it anonymously with others.
LWMS 2018 Spring Rally – The Milwaukee Metro South Circuit of Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society invites all women to attend their 2018 Spring Rally on Saturday, April 21 from 8:00am-12:15pm at St. John’s Lutheran Church (7809 Harwood Ave., Wauwatosa). Pre-registration is not required and there is no fee to attend. Contact Maralynn Strong (LWMS interim secretary) at email@example.com for more information.
Concert at Grace Downtown – The Lutheran Chorale of Milwaukee will present its 60th anniversary concern on Sunday, April 22 at 1:30 and 4:00pm. The concert will be held at Grace Lutheran Church (1209 N. Broadway, Milwaukee) and will include music for choir, orchestra, organ, and congregational singing. For more information, visit lutheranchorale.org.
Position Available – Stoney Creek Adult Community (WELS) in Muskego is looking for a creative, energetic, and compassionate person who has a heart for seniors. This part-time position has many facets, but main duties would involve coordinating a balanced cross-section of activities for our community of residents. If interested, contact Cindy at 414-422-4686 or firstname.lastname@example.org.