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April, 2015 - Issue #126

Glad to be an April Fool
by Joe Campeau

Easter this year happens to fall very close to April 1, the day set aside for pranks and a general celebration of foolishness. It occurs to me that Easter must have seemed like the biggest April Fool's joke of all. The disciples had witnessed Jesus die a horrible, agonizing death. Peter had crouched in hiding and shame over his denial. Mary, Jesus' mother, had held his lifeless body in her hands, knowing the terror only a parent that outlives her child could know. The other Mary was crying as she approached a cold tomb she thought contained a colder corpse. They would be fools indeed to believe that anything other than death had won again.

April Fools!

Despite all they knew to be true about life and death, an angel's announcement turned everything upside down and inside out. The tomb was empty. Amid shattered hopes and crushed dreams a new reality appeared and all they had lost was restored.

I believe in a Savior who was executed. I trust in a God who died a criminal. I place my hope in One who was dead and rose again. What could be more foolish than that?

The Bible reminds us, "God's way seems foolish . . . [but] God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength." (1 Corinthians 1)

Easter means life sung in a new key, of hope and trust that what God once did in a cemetery outside Jerusalem, He can and will repeat on a grand scale for those who believe.

I am glad to be an April fool! I hope you will consider being one as well.

Happy Easter! I'd like to invite you to celebrate with us.

Palm Sunday, March 29:
Worship at 8, 9:30 and 11am featuring Jesus riding a donkey,
music and drama

Maundy Thursday, April 2:
7:30pm featuring music and Last Supper drama "Remember Me"

Good Friday, April 3:
7:30 music, readings and drama

Easter Sunday, April 5:
6am sunrise hike meeting in the church parking lot to hike to the top of the hill at Cal Arts; 7:45, 9, 10:15, 11:30am festival worship with music, drama and a message of hope. Easter Breakfast will be served from 8:30 to 11:30am, prepared and served by our High School Youth. Donations will be accepted to help fund this summer's mission trip.
Joe Campeau is the senior pastor at Christ Lutheran Church. 259-0200

A New Start!
by Debbie Sperry

Have you ever wished you could just start over? Wished there was a "refresh" button for life? So you could restore your energy, heal old wounds and start fresh? Well, Easter offers that chance. It won't fix everything that's askew in our lives, we have to do that work, but the resurrected Christ does offer us a new beginning. Jesus says, "Come to me all who are weary and loaded down with burdens and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). When we open our lives to Jesus, he fills us with hope, joy and light.

In him, we gain strength to push through adversity and to let go of the guilt and shame of our past. We also receive the gift of knowing that our future is not bound by our past. No matter who we are, no matter what we've done, no matter what has happened to us, no matter where we "rank" in society, we have a chance at a fresh start in Jesus. He doesn't exclude anyone. There is no prerequisite to get in. All we have to do is trust and believe that Jesus offers new life and hope.

This opportunity is most obvious at Easter. We celebrate Jesus' victory over darkness and death and we see that hope and life come through him. If you're looking for a fresh start or a new lease on life, come and see what Jesus can offer! His promises are solid and his love for you never ends. There's no bait and switch. There are no strings attached. This opportunity is yours for the taking. We hope you'll join us on Easter Sunday at 8:30, 9:45 and 11am, where you can hear this good news through beautiful music and an invitation for a fresh start in Jesus.
Debbie Sperry is the lead pastor of Valencia United Methodist Church. Learn more at www.umcv.org. 255-1301 #vumchereforgood
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