Good News?

So… I didn’t go to church yesterday. Honestly, I didn’t go to church simply because I was tired and wanted to sleep in.  However, being Easter Sunday, I did do a bit of thinking about resurrection all day. Here are some of the thoughts that passed through my brain:

Isn’t resurrection day everyday not just Easter Sunday?
Why do church people focus so much on the cross when Jesus’ death was actually powerless without the resurrection? (at least thats what the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:13) 
If Christians taught more on resurrection than death, would Christianity be more interesting? Or maybe Christians might be more interesting people? Would I be more interesting?
Do we focus more on death because we don’t really understand resurrection? 
What if I focused on living resurrection instead of mostly talking about it and singing about it? 
What if I don’t have to wait until I die to be resurrected but my body, which dies a little everyday, could be resurrected every day?
What if all this stuff I talk about with my friends is actually real and not just what we do cause we grew up in the South?
  1. John, you’re singing my song this morning friend. I just brought The Medicine and can honestly say that it is beautiful. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been captivated by this idea of the resurrection since reading Surprised By Hope by N.T. Wright last year and I couldn’t agree with you more. Are we not alive? Is death now not just a lifting of the veil between us and Him? Wouldn’t Christianity (or at least the American brand) be much more interesting if people actually laid down their lives, instead of just tripping into the grave?But shoot man, I cry and complain when I have to give up my money or comfort, much less my rights, and forget about me laying down my life. So what is it exactly that I believe? Anyway, thanks attempting to put “eternity on the lips of the found”. You give me strength and courage to believe. I’m trying to write the songs of our community here in GA, and its encouraging to hear the same themes in yours.

  2. Thanks for your encouragement Jesse but i don’t think that’s what I’m really saying. I’m not talking about having to lay my life down. I’m saying Jesus did it so I don’t have to. If I do, it’s because I want to do it. See, your still talking about the cross, I’m talking about resurrection. I’m saying that most Christians are still trying to earn their way into heaven and still walk around feeling guilty. I’m saying the resurrected life is so much more enjoyable than the life we’re living. I say don’t focus on laying down your life, focus on living and then it won’t matter, in fact you probably won’t even know you did it.

  3. “What if I don’t have to wait until I die to be resurrected but my body, which dies a little everyday, could be resurrected every day?”Wow. So as I get closer to death, I also get closer to resurrected life? Or maybe even live a resurrected life each day? I think you’re on to something here.I have heard Protestant Christians poo-poo the Catholic crucifix because Jesus is still hanging on it and they say it puts too much focus on His death. But I think looking at an empty cross still focuses too much on the death part of what He did. There needs to be a new focus. Or a re-focusing. But how? Can we put an empty tomb up on stage next to the worship team instead of an empty cross? I’m half joking, but I mean humans really like visual aids, you know? What can replace the cross as a visual aid to what Jesus really did for us through the resurrection? And what would the Christian jewelry industry do if people quit focusing on the cross? Little empty tomb pendants? ;-)But seriously, you are totally right. We look so much at the blood and sacrifice that we really tend to put ourselves into this place of shame and repentance rather than joy at the outcome of it all. Was that His intent, to make us all feel bad about our sin that caused Him to have to die for our redemption? Or was His intent for us to have life, and have it to the full? Well, partly both, but mostly the latter. I mean, Godly sorrow does produce repentance (not guilt and condemnation), but we repent to let it go and walk in the resurrected life He intended for us.Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope my ADD brain allowed a somewhat intelligible response.

  4. Totally get what you’re saying…we’re so afraid of living life as God intended for us that we focus too much on the way he’s restored us (Jesus’ death on the Cross) than focusing on the reason behind the restoration – true, living relationship with an awesome God. What would happen if we lived our lives based on this relationship, focusing on community rather than what we have to sacrifice, and began walking out the things God has for us?

  5. I don’t think we “need” to focus on any visual unless we particularly want to. And both the cross and empty tomb idea are still not quite catching what I was thinking. How about we focus on a human being! I mean if glory resides inside of us aren’t you or I more awesome than a visual. I’m saying that it seems that Christian religion seems to focus on these traditional things. When I say “living in the resurrection” I don’t mean focusing on another traditional aspect of Christianity that involves the story of resurrection. I mean focus on the reality that the resurrection literally resides in our very bones. What I’m saying is don’t look at where Jesus isn’t look at where he is. If what we claim to believe is actually true then that has to mean that we are literally the container of the universes originator.

  6. I get what your saying about not “having to” do anything since we’re saved by grace and not trying to earn heaven. And that’s gospel, so no argument here.But I wasn’t really talking about that when I walk talking about laying down my life. I mean, Jesus was the one who said, “Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” and “Greater love has no man, then he lay down his life for his friends”. And I don’t think He told them that because it would earn them a place in heaven. Jesus was living the resurrection before He died. He was preaching that God was going to raise Him back to life and that we would be raised too. But there is nothing wrong with wanting to and looking for ways to follow that example. Honestly that’s how I make the resurrection real man, I lay down little parts of my life in love day by day because I believe that even if I lay the whole thing down, that God will resurrect me from the dead. I was just being honest when saying that I don’t always feel like doing it in my head, even though my heart knows better. So sometimes I want to focus on laying my life down because its sowing a seed of faith. And to what you said about focusing on where Jesus is, that’s a cool point too. But isn’t that two fold? The very spirit of Jesus is inside of us, living and alive like you said. But Jesus Himself is bodily in heaven, seated at the right hand of the Father. So I think those are both excellent places to focus, within our bones and but also keeping an eye on eternity and who we are becoming.

  7. You’re right, I didn’t mean to say that anything you were saying was wrong. Certainly there is nothing wrong with focusing on the words of Jesus. I guess what I was thinking about was how if you look at cultural Christianity from an outside perspective you would think all we have to offer is forgiveness for sin and heaven when you die. But Jesus said that “(God) is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living.”(Mark 12:27)These are certainly important aspects of the Christian life but I think so often we fail to communicate the creamy filling of the Oreo Cookie which is the heaven we access to now.In John 3 Jesus spoke as though he somehow coexisted in heaven and on earth:”No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who IS IN HEAVEN (present tense).”In Ephesians 2 Paul tells us that we also (though we don’t know it) currently exist on both “planes” if you want to look at it that way: “even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit (past tense) together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,”So my point isn’t that anything you were saying was wrong but that it’s so frustrating to me how it seems that much of Christian culture has excluded one of the absolute greatest aspects of God: the “I Am”, the God of today, the God of the moment, the God of the living.If God is real then He’s real today not just in a book, on a wall and when I die. Nope I’m made alive today, I’m resurrected daily, I’ve been seated in heavenly places.

  8. That’s such a good point man. I’ve been praying lately that God will expand my faith in that area. It’s so easy to slip into just “passing through” and forget that we have, in an accessible and tangible way, the author of reality and all existence living within us. The same power that resurrected Jesus from the dead and healed the lepers and gave sight to the blind is at work and tied to our faith.Crazy. Is that what Belly of the Lion is about? Days like these who would have known we were His temple? Or something like that?

  9. Hi John Mark,I just wanted to say that I saw you this past Friday night in High Point and I loved your music. ( I am the one who asked you what church you went to- before the music started). I have had a few years of despair and sadness and I wanted to tell you that the worship night helped me to feel a spirit of shame and depression just lift off me! I know I have to choose how to live- and I am choosing to follow the risen Christ- here on earth- as He intended. Also, I wanted to say it’s a blessing to come to see you and Jonathan Helser and be able to bring my 13 year old daughter and her 2 best friends- and see them enjoying themselves and the music, worshiping freely and loving God every moment- just as they do at home! It was a blessing to worship with you this past Friday. Geri Williams, Fellowship of Christ Church, Cary NC

  10. Jason said:

    JMM,You’re exactly right. Resurrection day is everyday, and I for one fail to realize that and the significance thereof. The Nashville show was incredible! God’s Spirit and the annointing on all of the music was so intense that night. friends that came with me were so incredibly blessed beyond words, and so was I.I appreciate your ministry and passion man.Jason WatsonKentucky.

  11. We are living the resurrection. Good stuff, JM. Sounds like a lyric for life…

  12. Thanks eryone. And Jesse the answer about “Belly of the Lion” is no. That song is basically about the way life can feel pretty futile sometimes. Nothing really spiritual about it. Just an observation.

  13. patrickschlabs said:

    The last question resonates the most to me. Seems that most of the time I hold to a form of godliness, but deny all of it’s power. Keep up the good work. And Amarillo, Tx says “hello”.

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