Resurrection is the word at Mount Carmel

Congregation members carry a cross during the service, which included an Easter-themed children's play.

BRETT Le BLANC/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 8:37 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 8:37 p.m.

You could feel God's presence in the house, filling worshippers with joy, love and hope at "A Resurrection Celebration" that featured a children's-driven play, praise dancing and gospel music and culminating with a powerful sermon titled, "What the Easter Bunny Won't Tell You."



Pastor: The Rev. Dr. N. LaMonte Newsome.
Location: 2505 NE 8th Ave.
Services: Sunday School is 9 a.m., Sunday morning worship is 10 a.m., Tuesday Bible Expo is 6:30 p.m. and Noonday prayer is Thursday.
Phone: 352-378-7322.

"Easter is not about spending money," said the Rev. Dr. LaMonte Newsome, pastor of the church, who introduced a big stuffed Easter Bunny sporting an enigmatic smile. Newsome preached about the commercialization of Easter and the Easter Bunny.

He said the Easter Bunny encourages us to spend money, but doesn't tell us about the ultimate price Jesus paid for our sins. He said Easter is not about jelly beans and Easter eggs and new clothes, but it's the celebration of Christ's resurrection from the dead.

The Easter Sunday service at Mount Carmel opened with "Behold the Lamb," a play that recounted the last days of Jesus' ministry up to the crucifixion and resurrection and was produced, directed and choreographed by LaVern Porter-Mitchell, a member of the church. The Mount Carmel Unity Choir performed throughout the event.

Associate Minister Laura H. Newsome, first lady of Mount Carmel, said the concentration should be on God and him only. "Jesus paid the price and destroyed the power of sin and died four our sins," said Laura Newsome. "There is a name that is so precious and his name is worthy of all praises. That name is Jesus."

During his sermon, the Rev. Newsome said while growing up, he loved Easter and all the hoopla that goes with it, but he realized there was a disconnect between Easter outside of the church and Easter inside the church walls.

"In church, I learned about a man who died for our sins," Newsome said, "In church, wearing my new suit and new shoes on Easter Sunday, I didn't hear about the Easter Bunny. I heard about death and resurrection."

He preached from Romans 3 and 23, Ezekiel 18:4 and 8 and Romans 5:6-9.

"We're all sinners, no one is exempt," said Newsome, who also read Psalm 51:5: "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me."

Newsome said sin is anything that displeases God.

"Sin is what you fail to do and what you do," said Newsome, who also listed things the Easter Bunny won't say about the "Price of Easter."

"Our sins have been covered and we're no longer under condemnation for what we used to do." Newsome said. "We don't have to feel less than because of where we come from."

Newsome preached from Romans 16, saying the Easter Bunny doesn't tell us about the "promise of Easter."

"Jesus is the first to rise from the dead, but not the last," Newsome said. "Through him, we will be raised from the dead. We, too, can rise to new heights, new accomplishments and new victories."

"Death is not the end, but only a pathway to new beginnings," said Newsome, adding that all souls lives eternally, but the address may be different. It can be a hot street or a cold avenue," he said.

"If you don't accept Jesus Christ as your savior," Newsome said, "where you're going is no place you want to be."

In preaching 1st John 5:11, Newsome said, "Believe in Jesus as your savior. The power of Easter and the power of Resurrection Sunday and the power of God was demonstrated."

"When you love someone, you will do for them whether they like it or not," Newsome said. "Jesus died for you and for me. That's love. Love is what you do."

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