There is also our list of Easter resource links now moved to the top of our right hand sidebar. (not yet updated for 2014 yet, sorry. I’ll be verifying and updating all those links soon.)
Remember, Easter is a 50 day season! I hope to be able to post often throughout Easter – prayers, music, quotes, devotionals – to help me, and all of us, to live in the joy and reality of the resurrection each day. So stay tuned…
and Freegal (a legal free music download service which my local public library subscribes too, and which allows me, using my library card, to download 3 songs per week.) The songs available include the entire online catalog of Sony records and their affiliated labels, so it includes albums from major artists such as Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman, Third Day, brandon Heath, MercyMe, Rich Mullins, Paul Baloche, Kari Jobe, Integrity Worship.
Through free songs I’ve downloaded from the WeAreWorship (UK) site in the past year, I’ve discovered a bunch of artists who I doubt I ever would have been exposed to otherwise. One of those songwriters & artists is Ben Cantelon.
Tonight I thought I’d feature his song “The Same Power” which I’ve been listening to often during these first few days of Eastertide. I love it because it so centrally focuses on the truth of Scripture, notably Ephesians 1:18-20
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead…
I’m enjoying the book so far. It’s good to be challenged to “unpack” some of the Scriptures about Christ’s resurrection – sometimes we can take them for granted. For instance, last night I was reading Chapter 4 which is based on Acts 13:34
And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, “‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’
I’d never stopped to ask “what ARE the “blessings of David” promised to Christ following His resurrection? So, the chapter caused me to think and examine the Scriptures… just what a good devotional books should do!
My only gripe is that some of the chapters are almost TOO brief. Just when the some key ideas have been presented, the chapter ends and it’s on to another reason “why the Resurrection changed everything…” But still, I’m finding it a very worthwhile read, and there are few other books that really cover the same topic or serve as Easter (as opposed to Lenten) devotionals. We focus so much on the Cross and Christ’s death. I believe I and we all need to focus more on the reality of Christ’s resurrection and it’s implications for our daily life, and our understanding of God and His promises.
Here’s the Publisher’s blurb and the Author’s Bio:
What would happen if believers truly grasped how the resurrection of Jesus changes not just their own standing with God, but that it changes everything? In the spirit of John Piper’s Fifty Reasons Why Christ Came to Die, Steven D. Mathewson unpacks the New Testament Scriptures that speak of the reasons Jesus was raised from the dead.
In fifty brief chapters, he offers readers faith-filled meditations on the primary passages on the resurrection, taking these ancient truths and applying them to contemporary life. With compelling insight, he shows why Jesus not only had to die, but why his resurrection was necessary and how our lives change when we understand and embrace this essential truth of the Christian faith.
Steven D. Mathewson (DMin, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) is senior pastor of the Evangelical Free Church of Libertyville, Illinois. He is an adjunct faculty member at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Moody Bible Institute and also teaches in the Doctor of Ministry program at Denver Seminary. The author of The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative, which received the Christianity Today merit award and the Preaching magazine Book of the Year award, Mathewson lives in Illinois.
(Should the embedded audio not display, or play, use this link, but please respect copyright and purchase the song if you intend to keep it.)
Christ has arisen, alleluia.
Rejoice and praise Him, alleluia.
For our Redeemer burst from the tomb,
Even from death, dispelling its gloom.
Refrain: Let us sing praise to Him with endless joy;
Death’s fearful sting He has come to destroy.
Our sin forgiving, alleluia!
Jesus is living, alleluia!
For three long days the grave did its worst
Until its strength by God was dispersed.
He who gives life did death undergo;
And in its conquest His might did show. Refrain
The angel said to them, “Do not fear!
You look for Jesus who is not here.
See for yourselves the tomb is all bare;
Only the grave cloths are lying there.” Refrain
“Go spread the news: He’s not in the grave;
He has arisen this world to save.
Jesus’ redeeming labors are done;
Even the battle with sin is won.” Refrain
Christ has arisen; He sets us free;
Alleluia, to Him praises be.
Jesus is living! Let us all sing;
He reigns triumphant, heavenly King. Refrain
Text: Bernard Kyamanywa,; tr. Howard S. Olson
Ok, one more update, I found a fantastic choral arrangement of this hymn by John A, Behnke, available from Northwestern Publishing House It’s TRULY excellent, and you can listen to a high quality 4 minute sample of the recording by clicking on the “Audio Sample” link.
Because we know that whatever stone that’s been trapping, whatever boulder that’s been blocking, whatever rock that’s been locking — we know our God heaves stones because He loves and we know our God tears off grave clothes because He resurrects and we know our God upends to right.
We are the Resurrection People who know that hope can rise from the dead places
and that impossible stones can be rolled back to light
and right now all the sad things are becoming undone.
No matter how the world turns, there’s no turning that stone back now.
We’re the Resurrection People and we won’t live like that stone’s been rolled back. We won’t live like it isn’t the truth: The sad things are all becoming undone now.There’s no turning that stone back now. There’s no turning back now.
What’s been wearing death clothes in a life can get up and walk, what we’ve felt as wounds, by His wounds, are being healed, what’s being burnt to ashes will birth beauty. Ashes are always the papery birth announcement of beauty rising.
Us bound in that sin that’s always been, us with that heartbreak that just won’t take a break, us who feel locked up in these patterns and someone’s thrown away the key — we’re the people who’ve seen that the stone’s been rolled away.
We’re the Resurrection People who push back against the dark of impossible, because we’ve seen the impossible stone’s been pushed back against the dark. We’re the Resurrection People who walk in strong hope because we’ve seen the strong stones moved and Hope come right out to meet us and move us.
We’re the Resurrection people who believe that we can turn back, that people can turn back, that situations can turn around, because we’ve seen that stone’s been rolled back.
Nothing and no one is impossible now
because impossible stones have now been rolled away.
[...] We allow ourselves to be distracted by the things of this world, as if the tomb and the clothes and the empty space are what are important, and not the Lord Himself. We allow ourselves to be weighed down by our daily lives, even when not grief causing, and we fail to see the Lord. Or, like the disciples, we see the Lord absent from our lives, and then go back to our daily lives without further seeking Him.
But if we seek Him with passion and persistence, as did Mary, He will show Himself to us once again. As with prayer, passion and persistence pay off in seeing the Lord.
If you’re like me, things might be a little anticlimactic, now that Easter has come and gone. Or maybe you never even saw Him at Easter at all. Now that Easter is over, we have a tendency to stuff Jesus back in the tomb until Pentecost – or maybe even Christmas. Or, because it seems like the thing to do, we try and see Jesus at Easter and have some success. But then, because it seems like the thing to do, we stop seeking Him with all the passion and joy and anticipation of Easter. The moment we stop these things, however, is the moment we will stop seeing Him.
Sometimes, even, our lives are out of sync with the church year. Good news may come to us during Lent, and we may be depressed or discouraged during Easter. But Easter is a reminder to turn from the grave to the garden. For some of us, that may take a little longer. That’s O.K.: Easter is a season, and not just a day.
This Easter, we need to seek the Lord where He may be found. We must, like Mary, be unyielding in our pursuit of our Lord. We must camp out where we know He is likely to be found, and we need to keep our ears and eyes open.
¶ At Morning Prayer, instead of the Venite, the following shall be said, and may be said throughout the Octave.
CHRIST our Passover is sacrificed for us: * therefore let us keep the feast, Not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; * but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Cor. v. 7.
CHRIST being raised from the dead dieth no more; * death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: * but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, * but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom. vi. 9.
CHRIST is risen from the dead, * and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, * by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, * even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Cor. xv. 20.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, * world without end. Amen.
ALMIGHTY God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; We humbly beseech thee that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.
¶ This Collect is to be said daily throughout Easter Week.