by Kevin Finkenbinder
DEWITT, MI – Each area of my life is impacted by the reality of Easter. Obviously, without Jesus living, dying, and rising from the dead, we would not know that God gave us the gift of salvation, and would not be able to effectively follow Him.
As I look at my life, my identity is multifaceted. First and foremost, I am a follower of Christ, then, in decreasing order of importance I am the husband of Amy, the father of 3 kids (Isaiah – 12, Asa – 10, Hannah – 6), the pastor of First Baptist Church of DeWitt, MI, and a computer programmer for Michigan State University Libraries.
My marriage and family are centered around Easter, as we inevitably fail to love each other, it is God’s grace that restores us and our relationship. And working at MSU is not because of a love for the Spartans (Go Green), nor because of the paycheck (although it allows me to feed my family), God has placed me at MSU to be a light in the darkness, allowing students, staff, faculty and others to see that God has given new life through Jesus Christ.
Right now, the most beautiful example of the resurrection is watching God work in our church. When I came a couple years ago, the church was struggling to survive financially and otherwise. Our church is now much healthier, not because of a stewardship campaign or an outreach emphasis.
It is because as a church we have been seeking to apply God’s grace and the reality of the resurrection to all that we do. As we learn of God’s word and love for us, we naturally grow closer to Him and imitate His will in reaching the world. Seeking to love God who died and rose for us has changed (and is continuing to change) our church.
My favorite Easter memory is from childhood. Being that it was 45 years ago, my mind has probably conflated events, but I remember the children’s ministers at Christian Center in Colorado Springs leading us to sing, “I’m in the Lord’s Army” and then asking us if we wanted to fight with or against God.
It was at that time I prayed to ask Jesus to save me. As I remember it, later that same day I went into the adjacent park for an Easter egg hunt. I don’t remember actually getting any eggs, but I do remember asking Jesus into my life. Even if that didn’t actually take place on Easter, it was still Easter for my life.
Over the years, the Easter verse that has moved me most has shifted and changed as God works in different areas of my life. Right now, I am overwhelmed by Romans 5:7-11. Even as a young child, I had been an enemy of God, and I will never be a righteous man. Yet, Christ died for me, not only to save me from His wrath, but to give me life and reconciliation.
Life in a neutral stance to God would have been infinite grace, but far beyond that He gave me reconciliation, joining me into His family and calling me His friend. At this, I am overwhelmed and speechless.
“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kevin Finkenbinder is pastor at First Baptist Church of DeWitt, MI. He has been married to Amy since 2008 and together they celebrate their 2 handsome boys (Isaiah and Asa) and their beautiful girl (Hannah). As a bi-vocational pastor, Kevin has also worked at MSU in website programming and digital development since 2013.