Summary: Easter Outreach message -- To decide to delay is to decide to deny.
What Are You Waiting For?
Rev. Brian Bill
How many of you have a problem with procrastination? Me too, and I’m going to start working on it tomorrow! According to a recent study from the University of Calgary, people who procrastinate are less healthy, less wealthy and less happy than those who are proactive. And we’re getting worse over time. In 1978, only about 5% of Americans considered themselves to be chronic procrastinators. Now, it’s 26%. This study suggests that because we have so many more diversions today, procrastination has become almost effortless. It’s so easy to put stuff off because escape is only a mouse click or a remote control away.
The Chicago Tribune ran an article last month entitled “Soft Addictions.” This refers to ordinary behavior that, if overdone, can wreak havoc on one’s life. Here are some examples: shopping impulsively (that’s not one of my issues – with four daughters I always try to get out of shopping), daydreaming excessively (this is especially popular in church), overworking, drinking too much coffee (that’s me), watching too much TV, and spending too much time on the Internet. Of the top ten soft addictions, it probably doesn’t surprise you to know that procrastination is #1 on the list.
I came across some quotes about procrastination that you may relate to:
> “The sooner I fall behind, the more time I have to catch up.”
> “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”
> “Procrastination is like a credit card; it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.”
> “Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday and avoiding today.”
> “When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that in itself is a choice.”
I’d like to springboard off this last statement and suggest that when it comes to becoming a believer in Jesus, to decide to delay is to decide to deny. The good news is that I don’t think there are many procrastinators here this morning. After all, you decided to attend an Easter service and you made it! Give yourself a hand.
Jack and Jill, you have some questions and I’m hoping this service helps you make some sense out of all the stuff you’re going through. I’ll do my best to give you some answers. Here’s where we’re headed…
> The Reliability of the Resurrection
> The Relevance of the Resurrection
> Our Response to the Resurrection
1. The Reliability of the Resurrection. Have you noticed recently how many times, with increasing regularity, that the resurrection of Jesus has been called into question? It was just a short time ago that the DaVinci Code attempted to dismantle this key doctrine. And just a month or so ago, the Discovery Channel ran a special called The Lost Tomb of Jesus which gained a lot of momentum in the media. In both instances, after the hype and the hyperventilating passed, the resurrection of Jesus remained unscathed. I believe that the resurrection will continue to be attacked because critics know that if the resurrection is dismantled, Christianity will be destroyed. The Bible puts it this way in 1 Corinthians 15:17: “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”
Do you realize that the resurrection of Jesus Christ has withstood detractors because it is based on an empty tomb? The Christian faith does not survive on fanciful fantasy but on fact. Someone has said that Christmas is the promise and Easter is the unparalleled and unprecedented proof. I’d like to read a portion of the resurrection account from one of the gospels. John 20:6-8: “Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.”
A week or so ago I sat down and read through the Book of Acts to see how prominently the Resurrection figures into its pages. This New Testament book follows right after the four gospels and records what happened in the days after the Resurrection. The word “Acts” implies that this group of people did not procrastinate – it’s a book of action, not procrastination. Describing the mission and vision of the early church, the fact that Jesus was raised from the dead is central to its message. I’ll just read some of the verses that stood out to me from the first four chapters:
Acts 1:3: “After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”