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Easter: The Greatest Event for Mankind by David Staton

Written by Staff on March 31, 2018 – 1:22 pm -

Celebrate the Risen Savior

Good Friday. Celebrate the Risen Savior with David Staton

Can You Handle It? by David Staton

Easter: The Greatest Event for Mankind

There are key events that happened in scripture that are staples for those who follow Christ. Christmas is a big one. Scripture says that Jesus was conceived supernaturally and born through a virgin girl. While most Christ followers believe this, it is still debated and argued by those who refuse to believe that Jesus was God in the flesh.

 

The many miracles that Jesus performed were witnessed by hundreds of people, many of which wrote about what they saw. Despite the strong historical evidence of these events, many dismiss, deny, or try to explain them away.

 

The deity of Christ has always been disputed and attempted to be disproven. Ask any politician or public figure who has ever made a false claim, and they will tell you that you are asking for a huge magnifying glass to be placed over your life by those who want to prove you wrong.

 

Before Jesus was ever born, it had been prophesied and Mary let it be known that her firstborn Son would be the long-awaited Messiah. With such a claim, you know that every day in the life of Jesus was scrutinized and examined by those who were just waiting to prove that Mary’s story was a lie.

    

Then after He predicted His own death, Jesus faced the cross. If you are the harshest skeptic, you could say that Jesus was not the first and certainly not the last religious leader to lay down their life for their cause. If you want to ignore the earth becoming dark in the middle of the day, the earthquake, the veil in the temple being torn from top to bottom, and dead people walking out of their tombs, then I guess you can debate the purpose and the epic battle that took place at Calvary.

 

Empty Tomb. Easter. David StatonYou can ignore, argue, debate, dismiss and deny all of these things, but there is one thing that forces each one of us to face the glorious reality of who Jesus is, and that is the empty tomb.

 

Because Jesus had said that He would rise from the dead, all eyes were on that tomb. The Romans sealed it and guarded it with their lives. On that Sunday morning, when the immovable stone was rolled away, and what seemed impossible became possible, it had to have set off the greatest search for a body that the world has ever known. Finding the body of Jesus would have done what they thought they had accomplished with the cross. It would have killed any thought that Jesus was the Son of God.

 

The body of Christ was in fact found, but not by those who were looking for a corpse. The body of Christ was found by over 500 people, but they found that body very much alive. That is why we celebrate Easter. That is what proves every word that Jesus ever said, explains every miracle He ever performed, and opens our eyes to the meaning of the cross. That empty tomb is what drives us to our knees and brings us to our feet when we hear the name above all names, Jesus.  

 

He is alive.

 

Photographs courtesy of David Staton.

David Staton

David Staton

By David Staton

First published by SGNScoops Magazine in April 2017

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“Go Tell My Disciples, And Peter” -Easter Is For Second Chances

Written by scoopsnews on March 31, 2018 – 5:53 am -

Weekend Word

Are you struggling today?  Do you need a second chance?

But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” —Mark 16:6-7
Do you need a second chance today? On the first Easter morning, Peter needed one. There in the Upper Room, he had insisted that he would never deny Christ. But just as Jesus had predicted, Peter not only denied the Lord, but he denied Him three times. The last glimpse Peter had of Jesus before His crucifixion was in the glow of the fire in the high priest’s courtyard, where he actually made eye contact with Jesus. And then he went out and wept bitterly.

What kind of look do you think Jesus gave Peter when their eyes met? Do you think it was one of those I-told-you-so looks? Do you think it was one of scorn, as if to say, “How could you betray Me?” I don’t think it was either one. I think it was a look of love, a look of compassion that said, “I still love you, Peter.” And I believe that is why Peter went out and wept bitterly. He had failed the Lord so miserably. He probably thought there was no hope for him.

But then a message went out from the empty tomb that Jesus had risen, followed by these instructions, “Go, tell His disciples—and Peter. . . (Harvest Daily)

Easter is for second chances. What are you waiting for?


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Zach Williams, Easter, and Finding Your Now

Written by Staff on March 29, 2018 – 12:49 pm -

March 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

March 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

Editor’s Last Word by Lorraine Walker for March 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

I heard the birds singing louder than the traffic noise this morning, and I knew that spring must be just around the corner. The month of March is full of possibilities as I watch the bulbs start to send up their green leaves, and the rabbits come out of hibernation to try and feast on those sprouts. It makes me begin to wonder what new things the Lord wants me to do as I come out of my own winter hibernation. Is there something new for all of us this month, this week, or even today?

Let’s all look at the chains that may be preventing us from attempting something different. Those chains may be fear, or indecision, or perceived inability, holding us down. Maybe we need to listen to Zach Williams’ “Chain Breaker” one more time. That is one of my favorite songs right now, whether it is Triumphant or Gaither Vocal Band or Steve Ladd or Williams himself performing it. I confess that I have played Williams’ and Triumphant’s CDs until they have been worn thin. I may be the only person in the world still purchasing full CDs, but then, I still have boxes of cassette tapes as well. However, I digress.

 

When the idea was born to feature Williams on the cover of this issue, I was delighted. The writer of this hit is a Grammy Award winner, and his song has been covered by many artists from many different branches of Christian music. I am so glad that Justin McLeod was able to chat with this singer/songwriter, and I hope that you enjoyed every feature in our diverse look at what is happening in the world of Christian music.

 

Moving to the genre of Christian country music, artist Jonathan Dale said something in my interview with him that has resonated with me ever since. He was talking about his new release, “This Is Your Now.” He wants this generation to be aware that the time is now to do what you are called to do, not wait for another day, week, or year. We all need to look at this moment as our time, as we may not have another moment.

 

The writer Paul told his readers in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” He was quoting the prophet Isaiah from the Old Testament in Isaiah 49:8. The Bible is filled with the thread of urgency, reminding us time and again that our life here on earth is but a short blip in the eternal timeline. Where you spend the rest of your life depends on what you do now. Have you made the decision that Dr. Billy Graham probably preached thousands of times in his lifetime? Have you accepted the salvation of the Lord, put your trust in Him and given your life to Him?

 

Lorraine Walker, editor of SGNScoops Magazine

Lorraine Walker, editor of SGNScoops Magazine

Truly, “This Is Your Now.” You may never have another chance to make that decision. And if you have been walking with the Lord, what has He been urging you to do with your life, that thing that has caused you to procrastinate? You have said to yourself that you would wait until you had a break in your job stress, or perhaps until you acquired a job, or until you were wiser in your knowledge of scripture, or until whatever has been happening in your life had passed.

 

What better time than spring, than Easter, than today to reach hold of the hand of God and allow Him to lead you into a new land?

God spoke to Isaiah and said through him, “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)

 

Thanks so much for reading SGNScoops Magazine. If you have any questions or comments, do not hesitate to email me at lorraine@sgnscoops.com. I hope to see you at some gospel music event this year.

Do that new thing today. This truly is your now.

By Lorraine Walker

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Jesus Christ: A Life for Love

Written by Staff on April 15, 2017 – 10:55 am -

Would you drive 1,000 miles to have dinner with a complete stranger? Could you spare 72 hours of your time to help someone in need? Would you risk your life in an attempt to rescue an individual who sought to murder you?

While these complex scenarios may sound somewhat outrageous, they truly pale in comparison to the sacrifice Jesus Christ made to show his love toward us. Jesus gave his life for every single person on this planet. Why did he go to such lengths? He gave his life for love.

When I think about love, I am reminded of the unconditional love my Dad has for me. He would do anything to ensure my safety and contentment.

Additionally, I think of the times I have spent with family and friends, enjoying fellowship together. I even recall the special unexpected gifts I have been given from friends all around the world. Small tokens of their love for me, yet they are items I will treasure always.

Every day, we constantly strive to show our love toward one another, with the ultimate hope that we will be loved in return. Yet with all of our loving gestures bestowed upon family and friends, we cannot even begin to scratch the surface of the love of Jesus Christ.

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Infinitely More perform Light At The End Of The Tomb

Written by Staff on April 2, 2016 – 7:40 pm -

Infinitely More

Infinitely More

Infinitely More, a Christian music duo from Ontario, Canada have a lovely new song that’s perfect for this time of year. “Light At The End Of The Tomb” is an inspiring song to take believers through hard times toward freedom in Christ.

Watch Infinitely More perform the song below and download it for free from their website.

Allison Lynn says: “It’s so exciting to see so many of you downloading your free mp3 for There’s A Light At The End Of The Tomb! We’re chatting about it on the blog today. Please visit & pick up your free song: http://allisonlynn.blogspot.ca/…/worship-wednesdays-free-so…tomb

Allison writes in her blog: “Gerald was inspired to write this anthemic song by this photo he saw of a stone tomb, flooded with light. As soon as I heard his first verse and chorus, I declared, “I need to cowrite this!”  We loved crafting a song that celebrates the promise and power of that first Easter morning. We debuted it on Easter Sunday, and it quickly became a year-round favourite.”

 

 

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Celebrate the Risen Savior

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on March 26, 2016 – 10:34 pm -

Celebrate the Risen Savior

Celebrate the Risen Savior

Celebrate the Risen Savior

Early on Sunday morning, Mary Magdelene, one of Jesus’s followers, and some other women went to the tomb to put spices onto the body . When they got to the tomb, they discovered that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. They wondered what had happened! Suddenly two men dressed is white robes that glowed appeared in the tomb. The women were very frightened, but the men said “He is not here! He has risen just as he said.” Then the women remembered what Jesus had said.

We at SGN Scoops would like to say, “Celebrate the true meaning of Easter today and everyday.” He is alive!


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Grace Friday

Written by Staff on March 25, 2016 – 1:07 pm -

Grace Friday

Grace Friday

By Jennifer Campbell

Good Friday is a day that I hold very dear to my heart. But sometimes I wonder why it is called Good Friday. Just think about it. We often say, “That was a good dinner.” We say, “Good morning,” even to passersby on the street. Let’s face it, the word “good” is used so frequently that it has nearly lost its credibility as an adjective. So maybe we should rename today and call it Great Friday. That would give it more significance, right? In reality, it matters not what we call this particular day. What matters is whether or not we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ gave His life for you and me. It wasn’t about fame or fortune. He wasn’t trying to do a good deed or striving to be great. He died on the cross to cleanse our sins, to grant us eternal life, and to shower us with love and mercy we don’t even deserve. When you really stop to think about it, the name most befitting of this important day on the calendar would be Grace Friday.

Perhaps you look at the calendar and wonder what Easter is really all about. Deep within your heart, do you feel as if there must be something more, beyond the chocolate bunnies and plastic eggs? If you are searching for answers, look no further. Jesus Christ is the answer you seek.  ohn 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The King of Kings and Lord of Lords gave His life as a ransom for every man, woman, boy, and girl on this planet.  That includes you. Why? Because of the unconditional love He has for us.

Jesus could have called ten thousand angels to save Him from the cross. He didn’t have to endure the pain and agony. He could have simply told his Father, “I can’t do it. I’ve had enough. I’m going home.” But He stayed there, because He knew that you and I needed a Savior. He knew that we would have no lasting hope on our own. Jesus wanted to give us the most heartfelt and important gift given in the history of mankind: eternal love and everlasting life. It is the gift that truly keeps on giving, through all eternity.

You may be sitting there, thinking, why would a King do this for me? I’ve failed, I’ve sinned, and I’ve done so many wrongs. The Bible says we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Not one of us is without blemish. We have all made mistakes. Still, His love for us is never-ending. Jesus shed his blood to forgive our sins. He bore all of the earth’s diseases to heal our sicknesses. On top of all of that, He granted us eternal life in Heaven with Him, for everyone who has a personal relationship with Him.

This Easter, cherish the time you have with family and friends. Enjoy the delicious dinners and sweet bunny-shaped treats. Above all, remember the reason for the Easter season. Jesus Christ gave His life for love (I John 3:16). On Good Friday, Jesus died. On the third day, He rose again. At this very moment, He is sitting at the right hand of God, interceding on our behalf. He bestows upon us unconditional love, even though we are undeserving. God’s Word says, “All are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). No matter where you have been, what you have done, or who you are, His redeeming love is free to all. That is true, divine mercy. So whether you call it Good Friday or Great Friday, remember that Easter is really all about grace.

First published by SGN Scoops magazine in March 2016

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Then Came The Morning

Written by Staff on March 27, 2015 – 12:03 pm -

Monica Bellucci as Mary Magdalene. The Passion of the Christ (2004). Image courtesy of Top Ten Bible Films.

Monica Bellucci as Mary Magdalene. The Passion of the Christ (2004). Image courtesy of Top Ten Bible Films.

By Cindy Walker

Restless throughout the Sabbath night, drifting into the sweet escape of sleep only to awaken repeatedly with the sorrow of deep grief clutching her heart, Mary rose before dawn.  Methodically and numbly she gathered up the jars of spices and oils that she, Salome and James’ mother had prepared before sunset on preparation day, the day before the Sabbath.  A timid knock on her door made her jump, and fear rose in her throat before she recalled that Salome and the other Mary were to meet her here.  She quickly pulled her garments close to her and slipped out the door into the shadows, where the other two women waited.  They silently drew into each others’ arms briefly, hoping somehow to gather strength from each other for the sorrowful task ahead of them.  Silent tears trickled down their faces as they each gathered up an equal share of the jars and quietly started toward their destination.

The pre-dawn light cast strange shadows into the cool mist that hung over Jerusalem and the women shivered, drawing their black robes tighter around themselves.  Each was lost in her own thoughts, terrible images flashing through their minds; bitter accusations and insults hurled at One who only came to bring new life and hope to them.  How could the crowds have waved palm branches one day, only to later have risen up and crucified the One who had such love in His eyes, such healing in His hands, such compassion in His heart for sinners?  How could this be?  It seemed impossible.  It felt like a nightmare, and yet, the chill of the early morning and the reality of where they were going struck with a crushing blow.  It was a nightmare…but it was a real one.

sky two Mary Magdalene continued to replay scenes in her mind as she walked silently beside two of her closest friends.  She recalled how different her life was since she met the Messiah.  She grew up in Magdala, a village well known for its fish trade, wool and woolen dyes.  Early on in her life she worked alongside her mother and quickly learned the skills of spinning wool and dyeing it, preparing garments that were sought after by many passing through the countryside.  Mary’s mother was a wise woman who managed her household, servants and purchases with skill and confidence while her husband and sons spent long hours on the fishing boats, earning a denarius each for their labour, day after day.  She was proud of her father and how he provided for them so faithfully.  Her family was happy and comfortably well off in their home in Magdala.  Everyone was healthy and rejoiced in the pleasure of a hard day’s worth.  That was the ‘norm’ for her family.  That is, until Mary became sick.

She remembered how she came home one day after several hours at the market selling the woolen garments her family was famous for.  She thought she had been out in the sun too long that day.  Her body felt weak and the pain in her head grew stronger even after she lay down.  After a few days, Dr. Luke grew more alarmed when she began to describe times of collapse, when her muscles would give way, sending her to the ground.  Also, of times when her heart and lungs seemed to suddenly cease their function leaving her gasping for breath moments later.  The powders and herbs he prescribed did little to alleviate Mary’s pain or improve her condition as days stretched into weeks.  The painful boils and scaly skin condition that came several weeks later added to the hopelessness and discouragement that had settled on her and on their home. 

No longer were the sounds of laughter heard where once the joyous sound was a staple during their evening meals together.  Not that Mary joined them for meals now anyway, she was too sick to take much more than broth and bread.  Weeks dragged into months and then a year passed, with no improvement in her condition.  Gone was the hope that every young Jewish girl dreamed of: the hope of a husband and a family.  Mary was known in the village now as being unclean because of her illnesses. Some even said she was demon-possessed, that each malady she struggled with was a demon that plagued her.  Mary’s mother, father and brothers tried to encourage her.  They felt the stigma that rested upon her but felt helpless to remedy it.

Then one afternoon the village grew loud with excitement.  Someone shouted that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by!  Although many in Magdala had forsaken their worship of Jehovah, still they were anxious to meet this Man they had heard so much about.  Was He truly the Messiah, or just a prophet, as some said?  Mary’s family talked of it as they prepared to join the people waiting in the street.  Mary wondered if the stories she had heard were true.  He had been in other villages and people had been healed.  Was that possible?  If this Jesus really did heal people, could He heal her? 

Her sicknesses had been with her so long that there was not much more than a flicker of faith that pushed its way through the pain of hopelessness and discouragement that pressed upon her.  “Perhaps He is able,” she whispered to herself, “But would He be willing to heal me?”  Many of the villagers believed she had demons that plagued her and they looked upon her with pity and distain as they moved away from her in the crowd.  For this reason alone, Mary was able to move forward to the edge of the street to see the Man everyone pressed in to see.

From The Great Passion Play

From The Great Passion Play

Suddenly He was before her, and Mary gasped as He looked at her.  She was so used to the looks of the villagers that she was shocked at what she saw in His eyes.  She found she could not look away from the compassion, care and hope she saw shining there.  No one had ever looked at Mary that way, especially since she had become sick a year ago.  She saw Him smile. 

Then as He stepped toward her, she saw Him rest His hand on the head of a little girl whose lifeless eyes suddenly sparkled, as for the first time in her life, she was able to see!  She threw her tiny arms around Jesus’ leg and giggled.  He beamed at her and patted her head before moving toward Mary.  She stood in awe at what she had just witnessed and faith leapt in her heart.  This was no ordinary man!  This man was from God!  Little Sarah was just healed of blindness!

Jesus reached out His hand toward Mary and she knelt to kiss it and bowed down in worship.  She had seen Him heal and her heart rejoiced in gratefulness.  She was in the presence of One who deserved her homage.  Jesus rested His other hand on Mary’s head for just a moment and said quietly, “Arise, your faith has made you well.”  Then He was gone in the throng of people calling out His name, begging for His touch.  Mary remembered rising slowly from the ground, the noise of the crowd fading as they hurried to catch up with Jesus.  She stood alone suddenly, staring down the street at the crowd.  His words burned within her, “Arise, your faith has made you well.”

Mary trembled as her faith in the Healer swept over her.  She looked down at her hands.  The boils were gone.  And the skin condition that had left her hands gray and scaled had been replaced with the creamy, golden skin of her childhood.  Her heart began to hammer, but not because of the plague that routinely squeezed the life from her heart and lungs.  In fact, she could breathe more freely than she had done in months!  Her headache was gone.  Mary realized that although she usually could only stand for brief periods of time without her legs suddenly collapsing, that strength surged through her body!  There was no weakness…there was no muscle collapse.

Mary’s heart pounded with the realization of what had happened to her.  She was healed.  This man of God, with such compassion in His eyes, had known her needs and healed her without a word from her own mouth.  She hadn’t time to call out to Him for healing when she witnessed Sarah’s; she had just bowed in worship of this God-man.  And He had healed her too!

The movie "The Passion of the Christ", directed by Mel Gibson.   Seen here from left, Maia Morgenstern as Mary and Monica Bellucci as Magdalen.  Initial theatrical release February 25, 2004.  Screen capture. © 2004 Icon Distribution, Inc. Credit: © 2004 Icon Distribution / Flickr / Courtesy Pikturz.

The movie “The Passion of the Christ”, directed by Mel Gibson. Seen here from left, Maia Morgenstern as Mary and Monica Bellucci as Magdalen. Initial theatrical release February 25, 2004. Screen capture. © 2004 Icon Distribution, Inc. Credit: © 2004 Icon Distribution / Flickr / Courtesy Pikturz.

“Mary!”  Mary was startled as she was brought back to the present.  Salome had asked her a question.  What was it she had said?  “Mary!  How are we going to roll the stone away?”  None of them had thought of this when they started out for the tomb.  “The Master will see to it,” Mary said quickly.  Then she hesitated, looking into the eyes of the other two women as the reality of what she had just said and where they were going struck them with new grief.

How often had they said those words over the years as they had traveled with Him and the other disciples?  As they helped, as they cooked and served meals and set out sleeping mats; as they moved from town to town, sometimes with abundance and sometimes with little provision, they had often experienced circumstances where questions and doubts would arise.  And yet, each time, the food was enough, the lodging was enough, the provision was enough.  They knew it was because of the Master.  He was their Teacher, their guide and their God.  He was Messiah.  They saw the miracles, but more than that, they saw the kingdom of God through His teachings.  There was hope!  Messiah was here!

Mary looked at the women and tears streamed down their faces, mirroring hers.  “The Master will see to it.”  Those were the words that came from her lips.  The words that came from her heart.  But none of that was true now. The death of hope crushed Mary’s heart.  She shuddered.  Partially from the damp gay mist that hung heavy around them, but the real depth of her shudder came from her soul.  What would they do?  About the stone?  About living life without Him? Mary’s heart cried out silently to Jehovah, “Please.  Will You not grant this one last chance to serve my Master?”  The cold chill of silence gave no answer to Mary’s spirit.

She lifted her head and gazed upward, her prayer lifted to the Father, silently seeking communion with Him.  As she lowered her gaze, through the dim light of the pre-dawn she could see the tomb ahead of her.  She blinked, then quickly turned her eyes to the other women.  They stared ahead, eyes riveted on the scene before them.  No one said a word as they grasped each others’ arms and ran toward the tomb.  The stone was gone!  It was not in front of the tomb, but pushed aside!  With fear, the women moved closer, then began to weep.  Someone had stolen His body! 

 

emptytombThere were no words to express the anguish dashing their hearts.  With tears falling, the women turned to each other in fear.  James’ mother and Salome gazed at Mary, grief overwhelming them, causing their eyes to grow large and dark.  Mary saw the fear that she felt mirrored in their eyes.  They wanted to go home. All this was too much to comprehend after the terrible days leading up to the crucifixion of their Master.  Mary drew into their arms for a moment before urging them to return to their homes to rest.  “I will tell Peter,” Mary said, “Do not worry.  I will tell Peter.  He will know what to do.”  The women drew together one last time to gather strength and then parted to go their separate ways.

Peter and John and the others looked at Mary without saying a word, but their eyes showed a mixture of grief, disbelief and pity.  Poor Mary.  This was obviously too much for her.  Peter sprang up and rushed from the door of the house, no longer fearful of who might see him or associate him with the King of the Jews.  John followed, assisting Mary and talking quietly with her as they journeyed back to the tomb.

Suddenly, up ahead, Peter stopped still.  John glanced at Mary and then over Peter’s shoulder. Mary was right! The stone was rolled away!  They both looked at her and then back at the tomb.  Peter bent to glance inside but John pushed past him and walked into the sepulchre.  The grave clothes were there!  And the special napkin that had covered their Teacher’s face was folded and set aside!  What could this mean?  There were few words exchanged between the three, Peter and John inside the tomb, and Mary sitting on a stone nearby.  The sun was beginning to rise and melt the gray mist of dawn away, warming the grass and the tiny white flowers that fluttered now in the soft breeze.  Mary noticed none of that.

“Where have they taken my Lord?” she whispered.  Peter and John told her they needed to go back to the house to tell the others.  Mary shook her head.  “I just want to stay here,” she said.  Peter and John looked at each other in concern.  They didn’t want to leave her here.  Alone.  In her grief.  And yet they must tell the others.  They must come up with a plan of what to do next.  They looked at her again, urgency flashing in their eyes, but Mary just shook her head.

“Come to us when you can,” John said softly, and Mary nodded as she starred off in the distance, tears glistening in her eyes again.  She didn’t hear them leave, she was lost in her thoughts; her healing, His traveling ministry, His teachings, His righteousness, His arrest, His beating, His crucifixion, His death.  Hope died within her. It was over.  There was nothing left to hope for.  He was gone.  Her Master, her Teacher was gone.  Her healing didn’t seem to matter now because now there was no one left to minister to.  Was it all in vain?  Had she put her hope, her future, her life into the hands of Someone who was dead? Weeping overcame Mary as she sat on the stone a short distance from the tomb.  Turning sorrowful eyes to the tomb, Mary saw two men.  She was not surprised by their presence as it was customary for the gardeners to be working in the early morning before the heat of the day arrived.  The man said to her, “Why are you weeping?”

Mary thought it strange for one acquainted with this garden tomb to wonder at her tears but answered him saying, “Where have you taken Him?”  She glanced to the far side of the garden to see if there was another tomb nearby.

“Mary!”  The gentle, yet commanding voice was the only one like it!  Mary quickly turned.  “Teacher!”she cried out.  A smile flickered through her tears as she bowed down in worship before Him, just as she had done many years ago.  She reached for His hand.  He gently told her, “Do not cling to Me, but go tell the brethren that I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”  His eyes shone with compassion and grace as He smiled at her faith. 

From the Great Passion Play

From the Great Passion Play

Mary rose from the ground, her eyes fixed on the Lord, hope dawning within her at His words.  He was alive!   The Master was alive!  Hope was not dead.  Hope stood before her and promised eternal life.  The Lord had risen!  A smile started within her heart and burst onto her face!  “Messiah!” she whispered.  “Messiah!”  His words were true!  Because He lived, she would live also!  She rushed off to join the other disciples.  She had much to tell.  The greatest news of all!  She had seen the Messiah!  The Lord had risen! “Death had lost and life had won, for morning had come.”1 

 

 By Guest Author Cindy Walker

First published April 2012 on SGM Radio website. For current features click HERE.

1. “Then Came the Morning Lyrics.” Lyrics.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2015. Web. 27 Mar. 2015. <http://www.lyrics.net/lyric/8442675>. Written by: CHRISTIAN, CHRIS/GAITHER, GLORIA/GAITHER, WILLIAM. Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.


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The Great Passion of Jesus Christ

Written by Staff on March 26, 2015 – 4:26 pm -

great_passion_play_-_picture_of_christEaster is a time of joy as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and we acknowledge all that means for us: eternal life, abundant life and salvation from a life of sin by a God Who is eternal. But the full celebration of Easter must include the fervency of Palm Sunday, the shock of the overturning of the Temple’s money tables, the quiet closeness of the Last Supper, the grief of a prayer on the Mount, the betrayal of a friend at midnight and then capture, torture and a farce of a Court decision. Then more torture, a long climb up to Golgotha with a wooden cross, an agonizing and earth-shattering death, followed by the cold darkness of a borrowed tomb. So many emotions, so much passion before the glorious morning of Easter.

 

Many of us have seen the longest week in history portrayed on stage and in film during the season of Easter, but in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, they perform the Great Passion Play (GPP) outdoors, several days a week, from May until October, in a 4,100 seat amphitheater. Beginning with the raising of Lazarus from the dead, the drama tells the complete story of Jesus’ final week until His Resurrection and Ascension. The Play is a must-see event, with hundreds of actors and live animals detailing this special historical event.

 

Randall Christy of The Gospel Station, has attended the GPP many times over the years. From 2008 until 2012, attendance had declined to the point where the Play was closed due to lack of funds. Christy says, “I felt compelled to find out more. The Board of directors of the Passion Play had closed it for good, sold the animals, locked the gates, turned off the lights to the Christ of the Ozarks. I was strongly convicted to try and do something about this, and could not believe that the Lord wanted the Great Passion Play to close.” Christy immediately began to work on reviving the Play, working with the local bank and raising funds to initiate the 2013 season. Facilities were renovated and the area of The Holy Land Tour was also opened for the first time in five years.

 

Untitled_Panorama1 editThe park facilities of The Great Passion Play not only include the staging area but also a Bible Museum, Art Museum and Holy Land Tour, with historical exhibits and actors that introduce guests to various Biblical characters. It’s an educational experience for all patrons and is regularly visited by school and college groups. “The Great Passion Play has some of the most rare Bibles on display, such as an original 1611 King James Bible, first print, first edition, in mint condition as well many others worth seeing,” says Christy. “We also have several masterpieces in our art collections with some from the 1500’s and 1600’s, as well as a very old sculpture of Jesus Christ dating to 800AD.”

 

The Park also hosts Christian Music concerts, seminars and special Christmas activities. One of its most well known outdoor exhibits is the great Christ Of The Ozarks statue, standing 67 feet tall with the arms of Christ spread out to welcome all to come and learn about Him.

 

Rick Resurrection with angelRandall Christy decided to initiate the return of the Great Passion Play because of the message the Play and the Park had in common with his well-known music website, The Gospel Station. “Every song we play on the air is about the Gospel of Jesus,” says Christy. “And so is the Play. We are extremely mission minded and the Great Passion Play is the latest in our family of ministries.” He adds, “We are in a culture war in our country and if Christians do not fight it, who will?”

 

The Gospel Station has always been a ministry for Christy. “It’s more than just music, it’s the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are not just a radio business, selling air-time. Our people are personally involved in global missions and ministry, with a goal of seeing one-million people come to the Lord. So far we have seen over 326,000 accept Christ, all of them with local pastors to follow up, and most of them in public schools of foreign countries. We have a burden for kids, homeless, widows and orphans. Gospel music is one of the best ways to reach people with the story of Jesus Christ and one of the most effective ways to encourage Christians in their daily lives.”

 

The Gospel Station’s mission team has traveled far and wide, including Nicaragua, Nigeria, Kenya and Costa Rica. Christy says, “Without our Vision Team, the supporters who share this vision, we could not accomplish all of these things for the Lord.  Reaching people for Him is the main reason we are here, in His service.”

 

IMG_1320Christy adds, “I pray every day, ‘Lord please help me reach more people than I ever dreamed I could reach’ and He is.”

 

Randall Christy is currently on the Board of Directors for the Great Passion Play, a group of men determined to continuously improve on areas of the Park and expand their facilities. The Gospel Station will have a presence at this year’s Ozark Gospel Music Convention and there will be a special presentation of the Great Passion Play during one of the evening concerts. Christy encourages, “Please make the trip to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, this year with your family and your church to see the Christ of the Ozarks, the Bible and Art Museum, The Holy Land, and most of all – The Great Passion Play.”

 

IMG_1366For more information on the Great Passion Play visit http://www.greatpassionplay.org/

 

To listen to the Gospel Station click on to http://thegospelstation.com/dyn/index.php

By Lorraine Walker

First Published by SGN Scoops digital magazine in April 2014.

For current issues of SGN Scoops click HERE.

 

 

 

 

 


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‘Passion of the Christ’ Comes to TBN During Easter Week

Written by SGN Scoops Staff on April 4, 2012 – 2:49 pm -

LOS ANGELES,  The week leading up to Easter Sunday has always been a special season at Trinity Broadcasting Network, the world’s largest religious broadcaster and America’s most-watched faith channel. And for good reason: during holy week Christians around the world commemorate the Lord Jesus Christ’s suffering for us, His sacrificial death for us, and the glory of His resurrection, where death was conquered and eternal life through Christ Jesus is assured! To celebrate, TBN has selected movies and programs that will comfort, inspire, and challenge viewers throughout this sacred season.

For the second year during Easter week, TBN is featuring what has become a cinema classic for believers all over the world: The Passion of the Christ. Produced by Mel Gibson and starring one of Hollywood’s most beloved actors, Jim Caviezel, The Passion follows the Savior through the final hours before his death, from his agonizing intercession in the Garden of Gethsemane and savage scourging at the hands of the Romans, to the final moments of his brutal crucifixion. Throughout this intense and emotion-packed film, Jesus is portrayed in all of his humanity while flashbacks of his life reveal his true divine nature.

Due to the overwhelming response to last year’s showings, TBN will air The Passion of the Christ throughout the week leading up to Easter Sunday, beginning April 4. Visit TBN’s Passion of the Christ web page (here) for specific broadcast times.

TBN will also feature a special four-day showing of the film April 4th through the 7th at Church of All Nations on the grounds of Holy Land Experience, the Orlando, Florida destination that brings the rich history and glorious heritage of biblical Israel to life for the entire family. For more information on this free live showing of The Passion of the Christ, call 1-800-447-7235.

Jim Caviezel, who has been a guest speaker at Holy Land Experience, said his decision to portray Jesus in The Passion was deeply influenced by his love of Scripture. “Throughout my professional life, I have always been drawn to truth when selecting projects,” said Caviezel, who also provides the voice of Jesus on The Word of Promise, a popular audio Bible produced by Thomas Nelson. “In the Scripture I find truth that has long been a source of strength and constant inspiration.”

In addition to The Passion of the Christ, TBN has a full line-up of special programming for the entire family during Easter week, including the mysterious and dramatic film The Road to Emmaus; the moving documentary Twelve Ordinary Men; the unforgettable Apostle Peter and the Last Supper; the stirring In Remembrance; and the classic Easter film The Robe.

‘We’ve been so blessed over the years to be able to air unforgettable and moving films, concerts, and programs reminding us of the awesome gift of salvation through Christ Jesus and His love and sacrifice for all of humanity,” said TBN founder Dr. Paul Crouch. “Easter Week is truly a special season for us here at TBN. Our prayer is always that our programming will present the life-changing power of Christ’s love for our viewers all over the world.”


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