Reading time: two minutes. Easter people expect the risen Christ to show up in the most unexpected places and at just the time when we need Him. The Incarnate Jesus did that beginning at Bethlehem and continuing all the way to the Emmaus Road and His visit with Saul on the way to Damascus. Churches are emotional places; too often emotions of the unhealthy variety. Paul listed them as “bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice” (Ephesians 4:31). That’s just the time we need Jesus to show up, and you know what? He does!It’s heartbreaking the number of former pastors who report that they left the ministry because of conflict in the congregation. Almost universally the pastor said he believed he could help the congregation embroiled in turmoil to turn things around. We believe in the power of the gospel to change things. But far too often the devil gets a foothold. That’s our fault. And only the Holy Spirit can perform the exorcism needed to cast him out of that sacred place between us. The NIV translation says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger…” as if there was something we could do about it. The King James says it differently: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you…” Notice the passive voice? Dr. John Kleinig calls it “the divine passive.” Only Jesus can remove that kind of garbage. He does it in the most amazing and wonderful way. He shows up in the midst of our emotional drama and brings His grace. First He humbles us: “Put off your old self.” Then He shows up, victorious over sin and the bitterness, anger and malice that plagues us: “Be made new.” That’s the gospel. The One who is Risen and Brand New raises us from death and makes us brand new. Forgiven. Humbled. Restored. Brand new. What an amazing wonder it is that people like you and me who have such a hard time getting along, and who so quickly give the devil that precious place between us, hear the absolution that follows our sincere confession and are given a new chance, a new beginning. “And put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24). Brand new. Thanks you, Jesus. Thanks for reading. A Congregational Wellness Weekend is designed to help create a ministry environment at your church or school where professional church workers can thrive and serve joyfully in their calling at top capacity. Let’s start the conversation today! Find more information on our website or contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman to learn more.