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Sunday, 31 March 2013


Rev. Brent Russett
By Rev. Brent Russett
Pastor of Sunnyside Wesleyan Church in Ottawa:   
PODCAST LINK to CFRA broadcast - Sunday, March 31st, 2013:

Easter Sunday’

            Good morning. And welcome to good news in the morning. Happy Easter – He has risen – He has risen indeed.  My name is Brent Russett. I am the Senior Pastor at Sunnyside Wesleyan Church. It is my pleasure to look at some of life’s challenges, and then bring you some good news in the morning.

            This program is sponsored by Good News Christian Ministries, Box 184 Rideau Ferry, ON K0G1W0. Or you can find us on the web at I would encourage you to check out our website. You will find a number of things there to build into your spiritual life.

            Easter is such a great time to Worship. We are going to start out  with

Music – He is Exalted – By Eden’s Bridge – from their album Celtic Worship – Track 8 --- 3:26)

            I love to read and I dabble in writing. Sometimes I find it easy to write, and other times I find it challenging. But here is what I have come to understand.

            Every day all of us write the story of our lives. Some of us are better writers than others. But the choices we make, the things we do, the people we meet, dictate the story lines. Often there are a number of sub plots going on. What is happening with our extended family, what is happening at our work, what is happening amongst our friends? Then there is our main story line, what is happening in and around us?

            You may not thought about your life like this before, but you are an author, the author of your life. However, unlike an author of fiction, you don’t have complete control over the story. You can influence and direct it by the choices you make. But others are also writing into your story.

            Your boss writes into your story. That person who ran a red light and caused a fender bender, writes into your story. Your mom and dad write into your story, sometimes for better, and sometimes for worse.

            There is another story being written. It is the story of God. History is His Story.  But there is a lot more going on than has been written in the annals of history. He has been writing his story into the fabric of the universe from the beginning of time. His story is a big story …Big enough to encompass everyone.

            He has much more control over his story than we have over ours. But not complete control. He has given you the ability to make choices in your story. Those are real choices. What he really wants to do though is have his story and your story intersect in a meaningful way.

            I don’t know about you, but the story of my life has stuff in it that you wish weren’t elements of the story. There are some choices I made in the past that I would like to have over again. Then there were some things that other people did to me that has skewed the story somewhat.

            As a pastor I spend a lot of time listening to people’s stories. Here is what I have discovered. People’s lives are messy. You live with fear, and hope, with difficulties and with challenges. What do you do with those parts of your story? Do you just go on, ignore them, work with them?

            I have found that it is at those very points in the story that God comes and invites us to write our story into his. They become crucial moments in the story where--- how we respond to the invitation of God, can pivot a whole story.

            Now in many of those places in our lives, how we would like God to intersect with our lives is an answered prayer. God get me out of this place. God fix this problem. We would like him to drop in, do a miracle, so that we could get on with life the way it was.

            And sometimes he does that. But he doesn’t just want our stories to bump into each other, he wants them to intersect, and he wants Our story to be a smaller consistent part of his big story.

            The only place where your story can truly intersect with God’s story is in the story of Easter weekend. To truly be involved in the big God story, our stories have to come through the story of Easter.

            Just a few days back we celebrated Good Friday. You remember what happened on Good Friday. Jesus was crucified, killed that day. He was hung on a cross between two thieves.

            His death shook his disciples up. After all they had followed him for the last three years. When Jesus was being abandoned by the crowds, he asked his disciples if they were going to leave him too. Peter spoke up and answered for all the other disciples. Where else would we go? Only you have the words of eternal life.

            They had not only come to follow him, but they had come to believe in him. All their hopes and dreams were wrapped up in Christ. Those dreams came to a screeching halt with his death. That isn’t the way it was suppose to end. That isn’t the way that it was suppose to happen.

            Now we come to the story of Easter Sunday. I am looking at the story from John, Chapter 20.

            It was Sunday, the first day of the week. Mary Magdalene went to the tomb, and found that it was empty. This was unexpected. When you go to someone’s grave you expect to find the person who was buried still in the grave.

            So Mary come roaring back to the disciples, and Peter and John took off to the tomb. They get there and they find out that what they had been told. I like verse 8.

 John 20:8  Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 

            He believed what. He believed that the body was gone. The next verse basically says that they still didn’t understand that Jesus had to rise from the dead.

            The unexpected is one thing, but now that Peter and John had seen it they were left scratching their head. It has now moved from the unexpected to the unexplained. What do you do with the whole idea that a body was missing.

 John 20:10  Then the disciples went back to their homes,  

            When you hit the unexpected and then it moves into the unexplained, you need to regroup, so they went home.

            Now Mary hung around the grave, and she runs into two angels. But she is crying so hard she doesn’t care that she has seen angels. She has one thing in mind. Where is the body of Jesus. She has come to anoint him with oil, and I’m going to anoint him. I don’t care if you’re an angel or a king. I’m going to anoint Jesus.

            She is peering into the grave, and she hears this voice behind her.

15  "Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."
 16  Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned towards him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).
            Now she just freaks. This is too good to be true. She talks with Jesus and then he sends her off. So after she leaves Jesus she goes back to the disciples

 John 20:18  Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her. 

            Now what was the disciples take on this. Well, Thomas gets labelled as the one with no faith because he doesn’t believe it when the rest of the disciple tell him that they have seen Jesus, but the rest didn’t believe when Mary told them that she had seen Jesus.

            After all dead is dead. They had seen him die. They knew that no one escapes crucifixion. They knew that after he was dead that a spear was driven in his side just to make sure. Dead is dead.

            Now it has gone from unexpected to the unexplainable to unbelievable. It just doesn’t make sense.

19  On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"
 20  After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

            He had to show them his hands and sides before they would believe him. But when he showed them undeniable proof that he was risen from the dead, when he showed him his nail pierced hands and spear pierced side, they believed and then they were overjoyed.

            It went from being unbelievable to undeniable. Christ had indeed risen from the dead. These disciples believed it so much that each of them died because of this belief.

 Music – Matt Redman – Album “The Heart of Worship” – I am yours (Track 7 – 4:08)

            As I hear people writing the stories of their lives, often times their story mirrors that of Easter. Elements of all our stories are not what we wish they were.

            But it is often in these troublesome that we feel the story needs to move in a different direction. It might be a sense of meaninglessness and spinning our wheels. It might be a sense of insecurity or fear. It might be a sense that there is something bigger than ourselves. It may be our lives spinning out of control.

            But something happens to bring us to a place where we know the story that we are writing by our lives has to move in a different direction than it is heading right now.

            You know the great thing about God. He is already at work. He isn’t just at work in the lives of super saints. He is not just at work in the lives of Christians. He is at work in people’s lives who don’t even think he exists. He is at work in people who take no thought of him. Some of you know it and some of you don’t but God is actively involved in your life. He has been trying to write in a way to get your story to intersect with His.

            Do you want to see the finger prints of God in your life, start looking for the unexpected.----- Someone who you thought most unlikely starts talking about God. Things start to happen that in and of themselves could be ruled as coincidence but they start to accumulate. You go to a movie, and it is like God is talking to you. The unexpected happens, the equivalent of hearing stories of  the empty tomb happens. God’s trying to get your attention.

            But things start to move from the unexpected to unexplained. These things just don’t seem to have a good explanation to them. After all, if you haven’t given God much thought, and all of a sudden he is trying to get your attention, it is pretty easy to write him off. If you start with the premise that God is either nonexistent or a far off and doesn’t come near, then when he does come near, it just seems unexplainable.

            But even in middle of this mystery comes reports of God’s desire to bring you close and bring you into relationship with himself. Maybe you even start to grasp a hold of the good news that we find in Jesus Christ. He is the bridge between us and God. He made a way that we can know God.

            The problem is, if you really grasp the gospel of Jesus Christ, it’s unbelievable. That the God of the universe, knows me by name, and more than that loves me, and more than that wants a relationship with me, and more than that has cleared out all the obstacles between Him and me by the work of His Son Jesus and all that I have to do is receive the free gift of life that is offered in Christ. That is mind blowing. That is unbelievable.

            Thing have moved from the unexpected, to the unexplained, to the unbelievable.

            Here is where people need to make a decision. Are they going to keep on moving towards God, or are they going to disperse and just leave it there.

            Peter had a family, he could have been with his wife rather than hanging around the disciples. John and Andrew had a fishing business with their father. They could have immersed themselves in there fathers business.

            But they hung out, to see what would happen. There are some of you who have been confronted with the unbelievably, and you are thinking you might just move on.

            After all if you let your story intersect with God’s then you won’t have the same literary freedom. You will be writing your story, but it will need to be consistent with another story.

            But if you think God is a difficult co - author you should try sin. It is brutal to write your story line with it as a co author.

            For a number of you, you are right at that unbelievable stage. The other option is to stay there and actively wait for God to break through. And there will be a time when God breaks through. It may even be after you take that leap of faith. But there will be a time when God walks into the room of your heart and it is undeniable.

            The question is will you put yourself in a place to encounter God. Will you invite him into your life and invite him to write your story with you.

            If you want to do that you have to pray a simple prayer like,
“Lord Jesus, come into my life. Forgive me of my sins. I give my life to you. I want to follow you.”

            There are a number of you who have had your story intersect with God’s through the Easter story. You have understood that you were afar off from God. There were things in your life that didn’t allow you to come close. But God came close to you. On the cross that first Easter, Jesus did what he had to do, so that you could have peace with God. You have invited Jesus to come into your life and you have chosen to follow him. He has done exactly that.

            I want you to know that God wants your story to become more profound. And it is the same process

Unexpected - Ministry opportunity
-                       Suffering
-                       A community spurring you on
-                       Some new truth about God

Unexplained             - Is this really God
-                       I don’t understand everything I see.

Unbelievable            - Now you know you are to live in faith but
-                       Does God really want to take me deeper?
-                       Does God really want an intimate relationship?
-                       Does God really want me to abandon myself to Him?
Undeniable   - You take a step of faith and watch what God does.


Lord Jesus, I want to thank you for how you have allowed our stories to intersect with the Easter story. Lord, for whatever stage we find ourselves in, the undeniable, the unbelievable, Lord, I pray that you would allow your Spirit to so be drawing us to yourself. Thank you Lord, for what you are all about. Amen.

Thank you, Listeners for your words of encouragement, and for keeping us in your prayers.   Keeping this program on the air continues to be a work of faith. If you can help with that, please make out a cheque payable to Good News Christian Ministries, Box 184 , Rideau Ferry , On. K0G  1W0. Or you can give online by going to

Alan Churchill, the founding pastor of this ministry is writing a monthly devotional. Alan is well known for his spiritual insight and ability to communicate the truth of God. If you would like to receive this devotional, go to our website at and sign up to start receiving it right to you e-mail inbox. We know that God will bless you through this ministry. (

May you know   Jesus Christ personally and profoundly.  May the Holy Spirit reside deep within your heart .  And may the heavenly Father surround you with His constant and abiding and accompanying love

Music- Jody Cross – Rekindle  - Giver of Life – (Track 11 --- 5:03)

- Rev. Brent Russett

To listen to the above broadcast, click on the following link:

1 comment:

  1. Originally Posted on Twitter:
    BGEA ‏- (@BGEA on Twitter)
    "The same power that raised Christ from the dead is available to you today." -@BillyGraham #HappyEaster #HeisRisen