What’s the Big Deal About Easter?

It doesn’t get as much splash as other holidays, but it can hold its

We need to give Easter a little help. Bless its heart. It just
doesn’t measure up to Christmas. Of course, how can you compete
with lighted trees surrounded by brightly wrapped gift packages?

If we surveyed everyone in North America, they’d probably
place Easter behind Halloween. While Easter gives us a few
chocolate bunnies, Halloween gives us entire sack loads of candy.
And for those who choose not to participate in the world’s custom of
trick-or- treating, churches open their parking lots, malls extend their
hours and people can still get all the candy they want without ever
having to mutter “Trick or treat.”

And Valentine’s day captures our hearts. It’s the time for
romance, and the opportunity to share love with friends and family members.
The day is filled with the smell of roses, boxes of chocolate
hearts, candy hearts, exquisite cards—all declaring love.
But Easter?
No tree. No parties. Not many decorations.
What do we get at Easter?
A sermon.
And sometimes even that’s a little flat!

A Little Help, Please

So maybe we should spruce Easter up a bit. If we could get
some really cool celebrities to get behind it, Easter might mean more.
It seems whenever we have a devastating tornado, tsunami or
earthquake that takes out a city, the celebrities rush to get involved
and make a difference.

So maybe we could get the celebrities to promote Easter on
television ads!

That would be a great start, but we’d still need a good
marketing plan. Maybe we bring the fashion industry into this. Put a
few models in some super cool T-shirts that boast “Easter Is Cool,”
“Vote Easter Best Holiday,” “Easter Is #1,” “Easter Rocks!”

Yes. If we can get the celebs, the athletes, the models and a
creative marketing plan, Easter might have a chance!

Wrong Plan

I’m glad it’s not up to us to make Easter popular. Easter was
never created to be popular.
Because it’s the message of the Cross.
And the Cross is an ugly message.
The Cross means death. And death doesn’t sell well.
You see, even if we could get the celebs to promote Easter . . .
if the celebs haven’t experienced and embraced the Cross the way
Christ did, what good would it do?

The truth is: God doesn’t need any celebs to take on Easter. He
doesn’t need help promoting it. He doesn’t even want help promoting
it. He doesn’t want people embracing Easter for the wrong reasons.
He wants true followers.

The God of color and rhythm and the Grand Canyon and
kangaroos and gravity and Niagara Falls and sound and lightening
and donkeys who talk and hyenas that laugh could have created an
amazing marketing strategy to promote Easter. But He’s not into
marketing. He doesn’t think strategy. He thinks love.

The Truth

The message of the Cross is an invitation to die. “Wanna follow
Me?” Jesus asks. “Then pick up your cross. We’re going over there.
It’s a hill called Golgotha. We’re going to die.”
How do you market this?
How can you make this sound glamorous?
You don’t. You can’t. If you try . . . you’ll miss the meaning.
But the truth behind Easter is dying with Jesus.
Why would anyone do that? They wouldn’t.
Unless—they’ve experienced first-hand the death of Jesus for
their own sins.

You see, once a sinner realizes that Jesus willingly picked up
the Cross and died in her place, she’s overcome with joy and love for
her Father. She wants to live for Him, obey Him, serve Him, follow
Him, die with Him.

A High Price Tag

Jesus told everyone to count the cost before deciding to follow
Him. (See Luke 14:25-30.) He reminds us that a contractor doesn’t
start to build a house without first counting the cost of all the
materials. If he doesn’t do this, he may only build half a house and
run out of money.

What does it cost to follow Jesus?
It costs a lot.
It costs everything.
You see, Jesus isn’t looking for half-hearted followers. He’s not
interested in being the next big fad. He doesn’t recruit with a polished
benefits package. That’s not the way He works. He’d rather have 12
sold-out disciples than an entire world that’s only talk.
So why would anyone want to follow Jesus?
Because of love.
No one loves like He does.
And forgiveness.
No one else has offered to pay for our sins.
And eternal life.
The only way to God (and to live forever in heaven) is through
Jesus (see John 10:10).

And peace. And purpose. And meaning. And joy. And real life!

They Don’t Compare

If you stack Jesus against all the other gods, none of them even
compare with Him! Think about it: In all other religions, you have to
work really hard to reach your god. You have to pray so many times a
day, or sacrifice so much, or travel thus far, or. …

All other religions show man reaching up to their god. ONLY
Christianity shows God reaching down to man! Wow. Read that
again, because it’s mega-powerful. ONLY Christianity shows God
reaching down to man!

Christianity is the only religion that offers free salvation. You
don’t have to earn it. You can’t pay for it. You’ll never be good
enough to deserve it. So God reaches down to YOU by sending His
only Son wrapped in human flesh to die an ugly death on the Cross
for YOUR sins.
That’s love!
And He invited you to participate.

Make This YOUR Easter

Many of you reading this have already accepted Christ as your
Savior. You’ve already asked Him to forgive your sins. (If you haven’t
done this, you can do it right now. You can tell Him you’re sorry for
disobeying Him, ask Him to forgive you and place your faith in Him.)
But many of you reading this right now really want to go deeper in
your relationship with Christ. We call this sanctification.
If you desire to give Christ your all, you can pray this prayer.
No, it’s not a bunch of magic words. You really have to mean it. And
God will know if it’s genuine.
Dear Jesus:
Thank You for forgiving my sins. I’m so grateful that You
died for me. I love being a Christian. But I want to go
deeper. I want to give You everything! So right now, I’m
choosing to die. I’m dying to my will, my dreams, my way,
“me first,” my future. I want You to be LORD of every area
in my life. I’m moving to the back seat; You’re now in the
driver’s seat. You’re in complete control. Please release
the power of Your Holy Spirit within me and enable me to
live a holy life pleasing to You. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

New Plan

If you prayed that prayer and meant it, this Easter will become
something brand-new to you. More than a second-rate holiday, it will
be your love response to a God who’s crazy about you. He doesn’t
need a few celebs; He needs YOU.
You are His marketing plan.
YOU . . . simply loving one person at a time to Him.
You . . . dying to yourself and coming into new life through Him.
You . . . celebrating His resurrection from death.
You . . . living forever with Him.
This is Easter.

19 replies
  1. Nancy Prien
    Nancy Prien says:

    Susie,I wish you a wonderful Easter too. I loved your message. I agree Easter should be most important like other holidays. I love Easter and what it stands for. Best gift we could ever recieve.❤

  2. Natalie Murdock
    Natalie Murdock says:

    Thank you Susie for the way in which you shared what Easter is really about. I was touched by your prayer of truly going deeper with our relationship with the Lord. I have
    been working on that and so this prayer really spoke to me. Happy Easter and many blessings are wished for you.

  3. Lynne bonnell
    Lynne bonnell says:

    Thank you Susie for a great reminder of the reason for this season!
    Amidst the ham, the grocery shopping, the prep work to make the house presentable….it is so easy to not place my priorities in THE GOD WHO MAKES ANIMALS TALK, CREATED THE OCEANS AND THE SUN, and Who knows all about my heart condition today. I will be asking HIM to direct my path for the rest of the week and beyond!!! As the song says…I’ll just “turn my eyes upon Jesus, look full in HIS WONDERFUL FACE, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of HIS GLORY AND GRACE!”

  4. Nancy Prien
    Nancy Prien says:

    Wow!! A powerful message Susie. I love your messages . Love the way you explained Easter . God is so good.

    • susie shellenberger
      susie shellenberger says:

      Nancy, I hope your Easter is beyond blessed!

      Your friend,

  5. Fawn Scott
    Fawn Scott says:

    Dear Susie !
    Thank you Jesus for this loving awesome Lady but most of all, THANK YOU FOR YOU MY PRECIOUS SAVIOR
    You spoke to my heart and helped me focus on the Heart of this season . I’ve been wanting to go deeper for awhile now . Thank you for encouraging this! Much Love let’s continue to rise in newness with and for Him . Love Fawn he has risen He has Risen Indeed!

    • susie shellenberger
      susie shellenberger says:

      Hi, Fawn:

      So good to hear from you!
      May God infuse you with His strength this Easter.

      Your friend,

  6. Pamela Uhl
    Pamela Uhl says:

    Susie, the words our Lord gave you for this “lesson” reached right into my heart and prompted the following prayer. And I just wanted to say thank you, Susie, for all your hard work that blesses and enriches so many lives.

    “Abba, You know what is going on inside me right now. You know how utterly hopeless, how completely ground down I feel, how torn apart and worthless I feel. And I know You have a plan in the midst of these difficult circumstances. I know You are refining and re-making me to reflect You. So, Father, I surrender this trial to You, too. I surrender to my Savior Who died in my place; who endured so much more than I ever could. I surrender to Your purpose and Your plan for me now. Take it all, Father, and use it for Your glory. Empty me of self and of selfish desires. I am Yours. Completely and without reservation. Do with me what You will. Fill me with all I need to walk triumphantly in You. Thank You for hearing Your child. Thank You for what You are doing – even when I can’t understand – because You are trustworthy. In Jesus’ Precious Name, Amen.

    • susie shellenberger
      susie shellenberger says:

      Hi, Pam:

      What a beautiful prayer! Thank you so much for sharing this and for sharing yourSELF!

      Love you!

    • Penny Morris
      Penny Morris says:

      Thank you for sharing your prayer. I am feeling the same way and this touched my heart deeply

    • susie shellenberger
      susie shellenberger says:

      May God’s blessings rain on you this Easter, Steph!
      Love you to pieces.

    • susie shellenberger
      susie shellenberger says:

      Hi, Lila!

      Great to hear from you.
      I hope you have an incredible Easter!

      Your friend,

    • susie shellenberger
      susie shellenberger says:

      Hi, Joanne:

      I always enjoy hearing from you.
      Have an amazing Easter!

      Your friend,

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