Clergy try to inspire faith, hope

By Helena Rodriguez, PNT Staff Writer

On this Easter Sunday, messages of hope, courage and faith will reign as Christians fill up church pews to celebrate what they believe is one of the most transforming events in recorded times — the reported resurrection of Jesus Christ more than 2,000 years ago.

The following are snippets of what a few local pastors will share with their congregations during their special Easter sermons:

First Baptist Church, Dave McFadden, pastor

McFadden’s sermon is entitled, “Responses to the Resurrection.” During the church’s Easter service, about 14 people will be baptized as they celebrate the resurrection of Christ.

“I will be talking about the way people responded when Jesus was raised from the dead and compare that to how people respond to the idea of resurrection today,” McFadden said.

First Presbyterian Church, Clyde Davis, pastor

In his sermon, Davis said he will focus on what happened just before the resurrection of Jesus Christ, when the disciplines were going to the tomb and their state of uncertainty, panic, the fear they may have experienced and how this was all transformed by the resurrection.

David said he will compare these historical events to today, to the five years the United States has been fighting the war in Iraq. “I will focus on how that may look hopeless and aimless, but maybe we will see the beginning of a new era,” Davis said. “We need a resurrection … in the world and in ourselves.”

During the special Easter service, Davis said the church will hold a “flowering of the cross.”

First United Methodist Church, Jeff Symonds, head pastor

Symonds will preach on how the risen Jesus is with us and enables us to carry on his work, with a specific focus on the resurrection. “Jesus wants us to be in the presence of Christ in the world and that’s what the resurrection helps us to do,” Symonds said. “This takes us from being scared individuals into being in the presence of Christ, at the hands and feet of Jesus, in a world in need today.”

Trinity Family Center, Kelly Fulfer, pastor

The title of Fulfer’s Easter sermon is, “Dying to Live.” In his sermon, Fulfer will preach that, “The foundation of our faith is this risen savior. Without his resurrection, we have no celebration as believers in Jesus Christ. But upon further review, the word’s ‘Just as he said’ jump off the page.’”

Fulfer added, “He was the ultimate picture of the value of a man’s word as he fulfilled his promise to mankind. What can we learn from his example and how can we live to make his death worthy of dying?”

Third & Kilgore Church of Christ, David Bennett, preaching minister

During the Easter worship service, Bennett said he will be preaching on how the resurrection of Jesus Christ helps one keep from sinning today. “The passage that I have chosen is not often used at this time of year. I believe it speaks directly to the place of the resurrection in the life of the Christian,” he said.

Bennett said that in Romans 6:1-11, the apostle Paul relates both baptism and the resurrection to the life of the Christian. “He speaks about the role both of these events play in one’s ability to overcome sin in one’s daily walk with God.”