Authentic New Testament Solutions

I’ve Never Seen Such A Christian Easter

It’s Easter morning. Because we are quarantined at home and most stores and churches are closed, there are fewer Easter bunnies, Easter egg hunts, and no concern about preparing for the Easter Sunday services. Instead, people are watching The Ten Commandments, The Passion of the Christ, and local church services on TV and the Internet. Strangely enough, most people are at home with their families keeping the main thing the main thing.

Even those who are sick or watching their loved ones suffer are not trivializing this holiday. When people are sick and/or their loved ones may be dying, they think about eternal life, healing, redemption, and God’s role in the events we are all experiencing. And with this being Easter, the message of Jesus’ redemptive death and resurrection is all around us. Health care workers are singing Amazing Grace and praying with patients in secular hospitals. Practically every news cast has someone testifying that prayer healed them or that their hope in God sustained them. That can’t be bad.

Several weeks ago, I wrote a blog in answer to a question about God’s presence in the midst of this pandemic. (, which has become a very popular blog.


Because people are having to settle what their families mean to them contrasted with what their possessions mean to them. Quarantined people have time to contemplate why they are living the way they are, and they have the time to decide whether they want to spend live their lives watching television, enjoying their relationships, growing in the Scriptures, or medicating themselves with a chemical high. My guess is that anyone searching any form of media this morning could easily find a life-giving Easter message that would be uplifting to them. Or, they could react to that Gospel message that was so omnipresent this morning and allow their rebellion and hatred of the Gospel to cause them to take a course into darkness that will be eternal.

I once asked an old man what he thought of President Trump. He paused, thought, and said, “Well, he sure causes people to reveal themselves.” As I thought about his response, I realized how wise it was. As a result of our response to our president, I think we all know more about ourselves, our politics, our friends, and our nation. The same thing is happening with this pandemic, political philosophies and personal convictions are being vividly revealed. So, between our President and the pandemic, lights are coming on in ourselves and others, and this Easter ended up being more Christian than I can ever remember.

So, I think we might be wise to thank God for this Sabbath rest in quarantine. This is our opportunity to grow in God, enjoy our families, read some good books, clean out some closets both in our homes and in our hearts, and be grateful for this time when we can all determine why we do what we do. We may decide it’s time to redirect a little – or a lot.

I know this season has created horrific financial situations for thousands of individuals and institutions across the country. We are doing all we can to participate with the churches, non-profits, individuals, corporations and government agencies helping relieve some of the pressure this pandemic is placing on people.

I am personally aware of the thousands of small churches like ours without a strong media presence that function based on the spiritual and financial strength of Sunday morning services. We at St. James are attempting to attend to these needs with daily Zoom meetings, a Zoom based Wednesday night Bible study, and Sunday morning livestreamed on Facebook and then posted on our website. But financially, even though some people are giving online, it does not compare to the resources we could be using if we were still having public Sunday morning services. Thus, I as a pastor and our church leadership team are having to make some tough decisions. Those decisions reveal us.

Let’s celebrate the focus on the Gospel we’re seeing across our nation today. Just as Easter celebrates Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, these circumstances might cause all of us, our families, our churches and institutions, to rise from the dead and experience new life. Let’s embrace Him.

We are Easter (Resurrection) People!


Pastor Ted Haggard, DD, CHBC, is a Bible teacher with an emphasis on New Testament solutions to the human condition. His Bible teaching is informed by biblical scholarship, Choice Theory (Glasser), Attachment Theory (Johnson), and Behavioral Studies using DISC (Rohm).

This and other blogs by Pastor Ted Haggard are available at as a ministry of St. James Church. If you would like to strengthen the ministry of St. James Church and Pastor Ted Haggard by giving, please use the “give” tab at

Authentic New Testament Solutions

We Are Easter People


In 2006, while suffering the humiliation and consequences of my own sinfulness, I received an email from a Los Angeles Times reporter, whom I’d never met, with this message:

“Remember, we are Easter People!”

Easter is the day we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, and his resurrection allows us to come alive in him. So on Easter Sunday morning we are celebrating his resurrection and his life in us. Resurrection lets us all begin life anew.

With Christ’s redemption comes the assurance of eternal life and of Heaven when we depart this earth. And because of that assurance, as we grow in the reality of God’s resurrection power within, we grow in freedom from fear of death, as well as freedom from the sins that used to darken our lives and separate us from God.

This is why we Christians celebrate our experience in him every Sunday morning. Sunday reminds us of our new beginning in Christ. It’s the first morning of the week, which is a natural start for a new beginning. It reminds us that since Jesus rose from the dead on the first morning of the week, we too can experience that resurrection power. As we celebrate being forgiven, renewed, re-created, refreshed, empowered, and uplifted by his Word and his Spirit, we see hope for our future. We gather world-wide on the first morning of the week to experience a new morning in us . . . a new life through Christ, our risen Savior.

Christians believe in resurrection, even on our darkest days. I am reminded of a two-page hand written letter I received from Oral Roberts in the midst of my 2006 scandal. He enclosed $200 as a seed for my future ministry and encouraged me by writing that I would indeed resurrect. He wasn’t talking about eternal life. Instead, he was talking about my future life of meaningful ministry here on earth after most thought I was as good as dead and buried. Actually, I was. But Jesus resurrected me from the dead. Now I can say with grateful resolve,

“I, too, am an Easter person!”

What’s more, resurrection life not only impacts our personal lives, but it also influences the world we live in here on the Earth.

As many of you know, when we experience Christ’s resurrection power in our hearts and minds, we forgive, we heal, and we love. That process empowers healthy, long-term relationships, better family dynamics, and increased self-control. We delight in helping others, and in pursuing justice, peace, and contented lives. We also are grateful for the opportunity to get back up when we stumble, and to extend that same opportunity to others. We delight in using the power and grace God gives us to serve others. And we know that Christ is indeed risen from the dead and alive in us because we have become the living proof of his resurrected life.

God also often gives us the ability to change the world around us. It was, after all, Christ’s message that leveled the status of every individual, making slave and master, rich and poor, weak and powerful equal before God. The Christian reformation proclaimed that even the royal families (who typically claimed superiority over others as God’s special representatives) were equal to all others before God. When we emphasized that all have equal access to God through Christ Jesus our Lord, resurrection not only influenced individual people, but changed entire nations.

As a result, the foundation of Western law and society is the inherent worth of each and every person. According to Harvard professor, Jordan B. Peterson, in his book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, that was not the case in the past, and is not currently the case in most places where the church lacks influence. It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that many of the hierarchical slave-based societies of our ancestors reorganized themselves, under the sway of an ethical/religious revelation, such that the ownership and absolute domination of another person is now viewed as wrong.

This is just one example of what Jesus’ resurrection has done for us. Since, in fact, Jesus’ resurrection provided access to God for all who believe, it gave dignity to all, and provided the way for us to become better people.

Don’t get me wrong, however, I am not saying that our application of our faith has always been perfect either in our personal lives or in our civic engagement. History proves otherwise. But, historically speaking, the problems created by our misplaced application are often the sort of problems that emerge only after an entirely different set of more serious problems has been resolved. We grow in resurrection from glory to glory, and our civil application of our faith develops over time as well too.

Let’s all be faithful believers and let his resurrection power be alive in us individually and as we serve others, after all . . .

We are Easter People.

21st Century Evangelicalism

Is Lent For Us?

This morning a friend sent a text asking if we should participate in Lent. At that moment, I realized that we had so understated so many Christian holidays in our church that it would be good to write a blog to refresh our knowledge of this Christian tradition.

This year the first day of Lent happens to be today, March 1, 2017, Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is a day for us to remind ourselves of our mortality, sinfulness, and ultimate demise without Christ ( . . . from ashes to ashes, dust to dust. . . ). Lent, then, is a season when Christians have historically focused on simple living: limiting excesses, paying more attention to prayer and the Scriptures, participating more in church, and fasting in one way or another. Lent lasts about one tenth of the year. It is a tithe of our time set aside to focus on God’s priorities in our lives instead of worldly pleasures and living. It’s a season of devotion to God that roughly spans the forty days before Easter, excluding Sundays, because Sundays are a weekly mini-Easter celebration. The final day of Lent this year will be April 15th, the day before our resurrection day celebration, which of course is Easter.

Many Christians see the Lent season as a time to give up some type of food or guilty pleasure, or to begin doing something to strengthen their walk with Christ, which is always a good thing. During this season I often think of the story of the rich man who came to see Jesus. When he asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus replied, “Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” (Luke 18: 18-23).

Three things stand out to me in this response: 1.Give something up, 2. Give it to someone who needs it, and 3. Follow Christ.

Gayle and I have decided to give up most of our television watching. It’s true our TV is currently broken–but that is what got us thinking about what we gain when we’re not watching it.

It gives us more time with our family and friends.

In Christ’s response, he wanted the rich man to give up his things for the benefit of others. When our TV broke, we spent more time at our table having meals together. We also discovered we had more time to read, write, go on walks, jog, and talk. And, much to my delight, we even started going to bed earlier which made us feel better in the morning.

Some of you might want to consider other forms of electronic media. Gaming, texting, Facebooking, surfing, etc. All of these consume mass amounts of time. Slow down. Read. Visit. Think. Rest. Regroup.

It keeps the news about current events from dominating my home-life.

With the 24-hour news programs, everything is micro-analyzed and scrutinized. I watched the President’s speech last night (on my son Jonathan’s TV in his bedroom), and this morning when I read the news on my news ap, many of the analyses were slanted very differently than the speech I watched last night. Everything is political right now, and I need time away from endless hype.

That’s what Gayle and I are doing for Lent. Now what about you? If you or your family would like to use the Lent season as an opportunity to go without something in order to be able to give to others, you might discover some unexpected blessings in your life. Some of you might choose to devote the Sunday mornings of Lent to attending church, or some of you might start attending Wednesday evening Bible studies for Lent. A staff member just came in my office and announced he and his friends are giving up eating out at restaurants for Lent.

It’s your decision, and Lent gives all of us a great opportunity to let go of what is not needed, and embrace more of Christ in our lives.

I love serving Him with you.