Episode 572

Pastors Getting Their Groove Back, Paschal Full Moon & Recovering Pharisees Find Grace

Mar 25, 2024

It may be hard to believe the beginnings of the COVID pandemic began more than four years ago. That could be because so many effects of the pandemic took years to withdraw. This week is a special week in the life of the Christian faith as believers look toward resurrection Sunday. And, in the parable of the Prodigal Son, told to a crowd of Pharisees, Jesus invited the religious to find redemption. He told a story of a prodigal, the kind of moral reprobate the Pharisees knew would be far from God’s kingdom.

Transcript

It may be hard to believe the beginnings of the COVID pandemic began more than four years ago. That could be because so many effects of the pandemic took years to withdraw.

Churches were hit hard by the pandemic as services faced government ordered shutdowns and the toll of the pandemic on members and ministry.

Pastors also faced significant challenges to adjust the way they minister.

However, a recent poll from the Barna group indicates pastors are on the other side of the pandemic challenges they face personally.

The number of pastors who say they are “very satisfied: with their vocation” has grown to 59 percent, from 52 percent in 2022, a 7-point jump, Barna found.

“And 47 percent of pastors say they are “very satisfied” with their ministry at their current church, up from 38 percent in 2022, a significant increase from the last time Barna checked in,” the organization reported.
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This week is a special week in the life of the Christian faith as believers look toward resurrection Sunday.

Typically marked by special events and services, the week leading up to Easter gives Christians a special opportunity to reflect on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many churches offer special services throughout the week including Good Friday services to mark the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

According to Almanac.com, Easter Sunday always occurs on the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon. What is the Paschal Full Moon? This is specifically the first Sunday following the full Moon that occurs on or after the March or spring equinox. The word paschal is derived from the word Passover.
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Every day, hundreds of thousands of people die without the hope of Jesus. Your faithful prayers will make a difference. That’s why the IMB created a free 18-month calendar, called “Impacting Lostness Through Prayer”. It provides guidance, reminders and encouragement as you pray for individuals and communities who have yet to hear the gospel. Learn more about this free resource at IMB.org/prayercalendar.

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In the parable of the Prodigal Son, told to a crowd of Pharisees, Jesus invited the religious to find redemption. He told a story of a prodigal, the kind of moral reprobate the Pharisees knew would be far from God’s kingdom. But He also told the story of another kind of prodigal, one who was striving to do all the right things to please the Father but whose heart was also on a far journey. To the listeners of His day, it would be scandalous for God to offer forgiveness and grace to a son who had so dishonored the Father; and yet to us it might seem scandalous that God would offer that same grace to those who don’t think they need it. But this is what Jesus is doing.

Tim Keller says this of Jesus: “He is not a Pharisee about Pharisees; he is not self-righteous about self-righteousness. Nor should we be. He not only loves the wild-living, free-spirited people, but also hardened religious people.”

What marvelous good news this Easter! Jesus went to the cross for the very Pharisees who didn’t think they needed salvation. He died for the skeptics and Sadducees, both ancient and modern. He conquered sin and death so that those who believe could experience the kingdom of God and personal spiritual renewal. And His resurrection means that both skeptics and saints, Sadducees and Pharisees, can find salvation and become part of a new family made up of the formerly self-righteous from every nation, tribe, and tongue. It means that we—recovering Pharisees—find grace.

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