Dear Four Oaks Family,
I don’t know about you, but the week after Easter can sometimes feel like a let-down. We are stoked for Easter and anticipate visits with family, bringing special guests to church with us, and hearing the transforming message of God’s great gift to us through Christ’s death and resurrection.
Then it’s all over, it’s “Back-to-your-lives-Citizens.”
But this year, the pastoral team wanted to start something on Resurrection Sunday that would serve your Easter guests, especially those who are unsaved. Something that would make them want to return to church with you, or at least engage in conversations directed to answer their questions about life after death. Something that would give you a framework to start and continue conversations based on your friends’ natural, God-given curiosity about what happened to Jesus after he rose from the dead.
So here’s what we did: We developed a sermon series aimed at the natural longing for heaven that is hard-wired into all of us. We are calling this series Into the Shadowlands after a CS Lewis quote for life in this world:
“There was a real railway accident,” said Aslan softly. “Your father and mother and all of you are – as you used to call it in the Shadowlands – dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is over: this is the morning.” –from The Last Battle by CS Lewis
Most people sense that this world is not their home. But they need to know that we live in the shadow of our real home, which is with God in heaven. We need to tell them that “the new earth” is what we were created for.
You see, many unbelievers are genuinely curious about what happens to us after we die. They want to know how Jesus fits into the answer of life beyond the one on this earth. Some of the most popular books today attempt to tackle this difficult subject, but you can take your friends on a simple journey through the scriptures referenced during the Into The Shadowlands sermons which will answer their questions and hopefully set the stage for gospel conversations.
I know this is a lofty goal. But God is all-powerful! By helping you identify some of the scriptural tools you need to talk to your unsaved friends, it is our prayer that God would open the eyes to accept His gift of salvation through Jesus.
As a help, I’ve included the topics and scriptures below that we will cover over the course of the Shadowlands series. Also included is a link to a video of the Building Gospel Bridges class that was led by John Stewart and Alan Ivarson at the Killearn campus the week before Easter. If you were not able to attend the class (or even if you were), I encourage you to watch it for tips and suggestions on how to draw others into conversations that could be life-changing and salvation-giving.
For His Church,
Into the Shadowlands key scriptures
Week 1 (April 5): The Ascension (Heb 10: 11 – 14)
Week 2 (April 12): The Session (Rom 8: 34)
Week 3 (April 19): The Last Return (Rev 19: 11 - 21)
Week 4 (April 26): The Homecoming (TBD)
Video: Building Gospel Bridges