Pastor John

Pastor John

An Encounter with “sting”

In my first ministry, we had a “Paint Day” one spring Saturday.  About twenty of us gathered to paint the outside of our little country, white frame church building.  Nearly done and late in the afternoon, I was on a ladder painting away, when suddenly I came upon an unfriendly group of wasps.  I told the guy next to me, “There’s a nasty looking wasp’s nest here.”

He said what many people say about wasps, “If you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you.”  That’s a lie.  I didn’t do one thing to bother those wasps, but those little devils sure started bothering me.  They started flying closer and closer to my head.  I was trying to duck them, paint my area of the building, and hold on to the ladder all at the same time.

Then one of them flew right up to my face, looked me straight in the eye, and laughed at me (at least that’s how I remember it). It almost flew straight into my mouth and stung me on my upper lip—hence my encounter with lowercase “sting” the wasp, not uppercase Sting the artist. Honestly, to this day, I don’t ever remember climbing down that ladder!  All I remember is, after I was stung, I was on the ground and running into the house.

The guys at the church loved it.  As my lip started to swell bigger and bigger, one of them mockingly said, “Wouldn’t it be terrible if Brother John couldn’t preach tomorrow and we’d have to go home early? That would just be awful!” And then they laughed and laughed at my oversized lip.

One lady looked at my lip and said, “Well, Brother John, that wasp got you pretty good, but he won’t bother anyone else because you got his stinger.”  That was absolutely no comfort to me whatsoever!

But let me tell you about something that has always brought me great comfort, but even more the older I grow:  When Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day, He had the “stinger” of Satan in his body.  Those wounds in His hands and feet and side, that were visible even after the resurrection, are an eternal reminder that yes sin and death do sting, and the sting is painful.  But Jesus has taken Satan’s stinger for us.  And now we can say, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)

The sting of death has been felt with a new intensity this past year as hundreds of thousands died from the Covid-19 virus, not to mention the countless people who died from the usual leading causes of death, such as heart disease, cancer, and tragic accidents.

I have a feeling that many people will be looking for some comfort this Easter. Aren’t you glad we have a living hope to give them? Our hope has a name, and we want to spread His fame.

Easter 2020 was like nothing we expected. Easter 2021 may be more than we expected. We will be hosting 8 onsite services—five at Apopka (7:15 Sunrise, 8:30, 10:00, 11:30, 1:00) and three at Lake County (8:30, 10:00, 11:30)—as well as 5 Livestream services (8:30, 10:00, 11:30, 1:00, 5:00). Journey Kid’s Ministry is available for all indoor services. I believe we will see many people return to an in-person worship gathering for the first time in over a year. Think how excited and eager they will be!

Our aim is to welcome them with warmth, provide safe and caring environments for all, and share with them our living hope in Jesus. It’s going to be a special day and we would love to have you join one of our volunteer teams that will put a face and hands and feet to our mission of making disciples of Jesus that love God, love people and serve our world.

If you would like to serve, you can let us know right now by going to journeychristian.com/Easter.

Loving the greater-than-sting Journey

Pastor John