Three reasons why you should go to church on Easter even if you don’t like church

March 27th — tomorrow — is Easter Sunday in case you haven’t noticed all the pastel bunnies at the grocery store.  Instead of sleeping in with the kids and finding plastic eggs filled with melted candy, try something different: go to church even if you don’t like going to church. Here’s why.

  1.  Easter is at the very heart of Christianity.  Ever feel like you’ve walked into a movie that’s already halfway over when you go to church?  The preacher might be using words that you’ve never heard in regular life – like “sovereignty” and “sanctification?”  Well, Easter is so “at the heart” of the gospel message, it’s more likely than ever that the preacher will start from the beginning and things might begin to make sense.
  2. It’s great to have traditions with your spouse and family. According to the Art of Manliness, “Researchers have consistently found that families that engage in frequent traditions report stronger connection and unity than families that haven’t established rituals together. Traditions provide an all-too-rare chance for face-to-face interaction, help family members get to know and trust each other more intimately, and create a bond that comes from feeling that one is part of something unique and special.”
  3. How you respond to the Easter message will determine the rest of your life. Okay, so it is a matter of life and death.  As Warren Mainard wrote, “Your response to the resurrection of Jesus will literally define every aspect of your life, death and eternity.”  Unlike at Christmas, where the service might get bogged down in sentimentality, the message of Easter — the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus — will “determine your hope for your future, define your perspective of your past, deliver peace for your present, and even defy death in your eternity.”

Here are some tips for the actual service:

  1.  People usually “dress up” for the service, but don’t let your lack of a frilly dress stop you from going.  On “Easter Sunday,” people usually take the opportunity to dress is bold, bright colors to symbolize new life.  If you feel like you don’t have something appropriate to wear, just pick something out that is nice, modest, and clean — Jesus won’t care, as he was not “dressed to the nines” at the Resurrection either.
  2. Get there early.  There are many people out there right now making Easter plans as well.  In addition to the regular people who go to church every Sunday, you’ll have newcomers checking out the scene as well.  Get there at least fifteen minutes early so you don’t end up sitting on the awkward first row.
  3. Realize that the church will be full of people who feel as odd as you do being in a church.  Sometimes on “holy days,” people judge the church too harshly.  “Well, I went to the Christmas Eve Service, but no one talked to me at all.”  This might be due to the fact that there are so many visitors that it’s hard to tell whom to greet and who’s “regular.”  (Also you might be seated next to people who seem like uninterested church goers, who are also just visitors.)  Just don’t go expecting to have the full “Dale Carnegie” hospitality extended.   But, on the other hand…
  4. People might be excessively friendly.  On “holy days,” regular church goers are super excited to see visitors.  If you are hoping to go in unnoticed, it might be the case that people surround you asking where you live and what you do.  Just relax, accept the hospitality, and try to find a seat in the back.

As you think about what kind of church to attend, you’ll probably select one based on whether you know someone at that church, or if it’s close to your house.  No matter if you choose a casual, megachurch or a traditional throw back, the message of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is one you need to hear.


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This Mormon Missionary Survived Terror Attacks in Boston, Paris, AND Brussels

Mason Wells is only 19 years old. And this Mormon missionary was at the Brussels airport when ISIS struck earlier this week, suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon, injuries from shrapnel, and second- and third-degree burns on his face and hands.

Given his proximity to the explosions, this is pretty miraculous that he’s still alive.

But this story gets even crazier.

Turns out, Mason Wells was also in Paris when ISIS struck there last November.

AND he was one block away from the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013.

The Daily Mail has more:

‘This is his third terrorist attack,’ Chad Wells, Mason’s father, told ABC News.

‘This is the third time that sadly in our society that we have a connection to a bomb blast.

‘We live in a dangerous world and not everyone is kind and loving.’ …

‘It’s a miracle he’s alive. It’s a blessing from God he’s alive,’ Chad Wells said. ‘He’s just grateful to be alive, to have survived this, we’re grateful that he survived such a horrible thing, because being right there at ground zero, and right next to the attack – and to survive – is nothing short of a huge miracle.’

Reports from eyewitnesses say that Wells kept a good sense of humor even as he was on the ground bleeding immediately after the attack.

(I hope Mason’s next mission isn’t anywhere close to where I live!)

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Four American missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints were injured after three of them dropped off the other at airport security in Brussels. [Read more…]