Being Changed by Easter

Wednesday 31 Mar

Scott shares from his own experience of saying "yes" to Jesus.

Happy Easter and thank you for your partnership with our mission community.

Thirty years ago, in 1991, I commenced studies at Morling College in Sydney – responding to God’s call to prepare for pastoral ministry. 

I had been a young journalist, rising up the ranks working with Fairfax Media. I loved my job. I had dreamt of being a journalist for many years. I had finally 'made it' and yet in the back of my mind, I had a sense that one day God would open the door to pastoral ministry. 

But that was for the future – I had my plans in 'the now'. And then I found myself attending Easter services at my then home church at Bel Air Baptist Church over Easter 1990. 

A guest speaker challenged the congregation with these two questions: 
“How will you be different because of Easter 1990?”
“What does it mean for you to follow Jesus wholeheartedly this Easter?”

Those two questions were life-changing for me, as the Holy Spirit grabbed my attention and captured my heart. I have never forgotten those questions and 30 years later I find myself continuing to ask them. It’s become an annual ritual, aligned to the Easter season.

“How will I be different because of Easter this year?”
“What does it mean for me to follow Jesus wholeheartedly this Easter?”

Back in 1990, I wanted to simply park God’s call on my life. I wanted to come back to God’s challenge when it was a better time for me – when I had achieved more in journalism – when I had ticked off more things on my personal bucket list; when his call was more convenient for me.

And yet, here was the guest speaker highlighting the risen Jesus challenging Peter with the question: “Peter do you love me?” And as Peter three times answers in the affirmative, Jesus calls him obediently to loving, sacrificial service. He beckons Peter to the adventure of passionate discipleship. He calls him to counter-cultural living and service. 

God’s Spirit had my heart!

As much I loved chasing a great story. As much as I lived for a big, page one story; God had something more for me. And yet to discover his Kingdom purposes, I needed to humbly surrender. I needed to make myself available. I needed to step out in faith. I needed to  embrace obedience. I needed to say “yes” to God’s plans and purposes. I would be telling a lie if I said this was an easy process. It wasn’t, as God needed to deal with pride, ambition and my own agenda, but deep down I knew I wanted to say “yes” to King Jesus!

As we approach Easter 2021, what does it mean for you and I to say “yes” afresh to God’s call on our lives? “What does it mean for you to follow Jesus wholeheartedly this Easter?” “How will you be different because of Easter 2021?”

They’re challenging questions to ask, whatever our age or stage of life, whatever our context. But over the years I have found it very helpful to intentionally take this sacred season to ask these compelling questions. 

This week I was sharing with one of our international teams, encouraging them from the powerful Gethsemane story. I always find Jesus’ prayer here so challenging:

“Father please take the cup of suffering from me, but not my will, but your will be done.”

Here is Jesus modelling faith, courage, obedience and surrender. Here is Jesus willing to ready to go all the way to the Cross for you and I; for broken humanity. Here is Jesus calling his followers to humble, counter-cultural surrender in the way we live our lives.

How this call is expressed in our lives will look very different for all of us, but it is an invitation to catch our breath and consider afresh the life-transforming call of our King. It’s an invitation to consider our priorities, goals, values, ethics and relationships. 

Easter is almost here again and my mind goes back to those two questions in 1990.

I invite you to consider them again with me in 2021:
“How will I be different because of Easter this year?”
“What does it mean for me to follow Jesus wholeheartedly this Easter?”

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Have a wonderful Easter.

Grace and peace.
Scott « Back to News