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April, 2018 - Issue #163
courtesy of Shutterstock
courtesy of Shutterstock

It's Time to Stand Up for what You're For
by Marty Walker

Have you ever had that friend who just seems to be against everything; a real Negative Norman? It only intensifies in an election year; but you already know to never bring up politics with them. Their social media posts are cringe-worthy. They seem to always have a "negaphone" to verbalize their adverse opinions about the seemingly-undesirable people and circumstances around them. Sometimes these kinds of people just seem to be against whatever you're for.
Does that kind of contrary describe someone you know? It's pretty easy to slip into the place where the only stuff we're talking about is the only stuff we're concerned about. And when there's some kind of liability connected to our concerns, we can get downright passionate. Sometimes we're so passionate about what we're against, people never get to hear or know what we're for.
What you're for is important, and people need to hear about it. What you're for needs more press. It's time to articulate what you're for. It's appropriate to invest in the things you're for. Set aside resources to promote the things you're for. Consider today, what are you for?
The Christian Church is often labeled by what we're against when we want to be known by what we're for. At The Sanctuary, we believe it all begins and ends with knowing God is for you! This Easter, come and see what love has done: Good Friday (March 30) 7pm to 8pm; Easter (April 1) 8:30am, 10am, 11:30am.
Marty Walker is the lead pastor at The Sanctuary Church.
thesanctuarychurch.com


Don't Miss this Free Concert Series
The Master's University School of Music will perform their annual Forest Lawn Concert Series at the Hall of Crucifixion-Resurrection at Forest Lawn in Glendale on Wednesday, March 28 at 7:30pm and Thursday, March 29 at 7:30pm. The University Singers & Orchestra, conducted by Dr. Paul T. Plew and Dr. Stephen Opfer, will perform Dan Forrest's Requiem for the Living and Dvooak's New World Symphony, Mtvs. II and IV. Doors will open at 7pm. Complimentary tickets may be printed online at masters.edu/music or requested by calling. 800-568-6248, extension 2262

Why Easter is Important
by Karyn Malchus

I asked my Sunday school kids which holiday they liked better: Christmas or Easter. Of course, Christmas won. Then I asked why we celebrate Christmas. They answered, "Because it is Jesus's birthday." I then asked, "Do you know the date and name of anyone else that was born over 2,000 years ago?" The answer was, of course, "No." I pointed out that if Easter had never happened there would be no Christmas. Can you imagine!? We spent quite a while connecting the dots from Jesus' birth to his death and resurrection. Easter is a confusing time for children. There's a bunny, an egg, a ton of candy, a tomb and a risen Christ. How is a child supposed to process all of this?
The best answer I can give is this: Come to church! We help them understand why Jesus is so important and why we are still following his teachings today. On Palm Sunday, our kids will participate in a Holy Week interactive lesson which helps them to discover the significance of each day. The following Sunday is a huge celebration for Easter. I hope you will join us so that every child can come to know Jesus and why he is so awesome!
You're invited to Palm Sunday on March 25 for Holy Week Interactive for kids at 9am and 10:30am.
Easter worship will be at 8:30am, 9:45am and 11am.
Karyn Malchus is the director of Family Ministries for
Valencia United Methodist Church. umcv.org

Faith Is . . .
Faith is so much more then following a set of rules. Faith is so much more than just believing in an interpretation of scripture that was written in a time of history that does not correlate with our current time. Faith is a way of life that allows God to transform and reshape us into the people we were created to be. The current structures of the world can often convey a way of life that is not conducive to growing in love and wholeness. Yet, practicing a faith helps to correct the negative or sometimes wrong messages that prevent us from growing in grace and goodness. For us as United Methodist, we follow Jesus who pours God's love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. We are given this love of God not by works or following the rules but by God's love. That means we respond to that unmerited love and grace by following Jesus. And in following Jesus we have faith that God works in us and alongside of us to bring that very transforming love to the world.
We celebrate that transforming love on Easter as we remember the love that led Jesus to give his life for us. Not because God required it but because it was the act of selfless giving showing us the length God would go bring us into the circle of grace. Faith is living in that grace that fills our lives with love.
Join us on Sunday, April 1 for our Easter Celebrations at 9am and 11am. For more information, visit scumc.org.
Santa Clarita United Methodist Church 297-3783

No Fooling!
by John R. Koczman

The last time Easter was on April 1 was in 1956. How can you help but note a bit of irony with our infatuation of April Fool's Day and Easter being on that day this year? Psalm 14:1 says, "The fool says in his heart, 'God does not exist.'" But the enemy of God must be the greater fool for he knew that God existed yet thought he could kill him on Calvary's cross and be done with God.
In fact, anyone is a fool who thinks that the enemies of God can stop His plans and designs for our lives. Easter reminds us that we have an unstoppable God who is not diverted by the circumstances of this world. We may face pretty gloomy odds in life, but there is more to us than this world alone. To think otherwise would be foolish to say the least. No matter what it is that you are facing today, God is greater! His focus is on more than the temporary things of this life, He knows the big picture and invites you to be a part of it! No fooling!
John R. Koczman is a pastor at Bethlehem SCV. 252-0622

Turns Out it's a Good Thing to be an April Fool
by Joe Campeau
Easter falls on April 1 this year - April Fool's Day. That seems to me to be especially appropriate.
Easter must have seemed like the biggest, cruelest April Fool 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 her child's lifeless body in her hands. Mary Magdalene cried as she approached a cold tomb which she thought contained a colder corpse. They would be foolish to believe that anything other than pain and death had won again. Like it always does.
April Fools! Easter turns everything upside down. The tomb was empty. Amidst shattered hopes and tear-stained faces a new reality took place, and all they lost was restored. Are we fools to believe this? Perhaps, at least in the eyes of the world.
The apostle Paul reminds us, "Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 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 hits a new note of hope and faith that what God once did in a cemetery outside Jerusalem, He can and will repeat on a grand scale for you and me. It turns out it's a good thing to be an April fool!
Joe Campeau is senior pastor at Christ Lutheran Church. 259-0200

Easter Brunch is Better with Bundts
Nothing Bundt Cakes 291-2424
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