Real Jesus: Real Church for the Real World

You have an overactive imagination! Have you ever found yourself saying (or at least
thinking) that? Did you know that there is actually something called an “overactive
imagination disorder?” Neither did I. But here’s the definition: Overactive imagination
disorder is when you are so lost in your imagination that it begins to feel real. In other
words, you become captivated by a world of unreality. That’s actually a very real
temptation in the world today.
From video games to movies to artificial intelligence to virtual reality to the seemingly
unlimited proliferation of pornography, it seems like the combination of technology and
human imagination is producing more and more unreality. It’s everywhere, and we all
partake of it to some degree. Some of it’s really beneficial. But I think we can all agree
that this “unreality” created by our technology can be really distracting, deceptive, and it
can even be deadly.
Recently, there was a report from the Centers for Disease Control declaring a mental
health epidemic. A CDC spokeswoman bluntly stated, “young people”— especially young
women — “are in crisis.” An article in The New York Times summarized, “Nearly three in
five teenage girls felt persistent sadness in 2021 … and one in three girls seriously
considered attempting suicide.” Thankfully, there’s an antidote to the danger of unreality.
In fact, it’s one of the meanings of Easter. The Bible communicates it clearly.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the
doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and
said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The
disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. (John 20: 19-20)
The first and most obvious thing about this – and almost all – of Jesus’ post-resurrection
appearances is that Jesus takes pains to prove that he is real. He’s not a ghost, not a
vision, not a result of the disciples’ powerful emotions. Here, he shows them his hands
and side. He invites Thomas to touch them. He cooks breakfast and he eats fish. And
he has two-sided conversations. Let me plainly state the obvious: JESUS IS REAL.
The Good News of Easter is that Jesus is a Real Savior for Real People who commands
us to live Real lives of faith and love in the Real World so that we can make a real
difference. Centuries of Christianity have borne this out. From hospitals to universities,
from slavery to freedom, from marginalization to justice, and from hatred to love, and
most importantly from hell to heaven, the Real Jesus makes a Real difference in the
lives of real people.
For the next several weeks, I’m going to challenge you to exercise your God-given
imaginations as we immerse ourselves in the reality of the Risen Christ. The Sermon
Series is called, “The Real Jesus: Real Church for the Real World.” I’m going to be
reminding us of our church vision and mission. I invite you to join us!
Pastor Ryan
God is Good, All the Time!

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