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Lodi area provides variety of Easter services

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Posted: Sunday, March 31, 2013 4:19 pm

Churches vary on how many people attend their services. For example, an estimated 50 people showed up at Redeemer Lutheran, a Missouri Synod church, for its traditional Easter Sunday service.

The service was pretty much by the book, some from the Bible and the Lutheran Service Book. Pastor Bruce Berndt told the congregation and visitors about how Christ died for everyone's sins.

"He is such an amazing God," Berndt said. "We do not deserve him."

Meanwhile, at Faith Community Church, just across the Mokelumne River from Lodi, co-pastors Scott Hubbard and Chris Chavez focused on developing a relationship.

"It's about a relationship (with God), not religion or a book they read," Hubbard told an overflow crowd of about 900 who showed up for the second of two services at Faith Community on Easter Sunday.

Hubbard said he understands that some people are non-believers and also why people sometimes get angry at God, especially when something bad happens to them or someone they love.

Addressing the skeptics who might have been in the audience Sunday, Hubbard said that Christians — even pastors — aren't any better than non-believers.

"Christians are not perfect," he said. "I'm not perfect."

Pointing to Chavez, Hubbard said, "He's not perfect," which drew a laugh from the crowd.

"We're going through the same things you are," Hubbard said. "We just learn into God."

At Redeemer, Berndt admitted he has his own flaws.

"I'm a really opinionated person. I had to learn how not to get my own way. Believe it or not, that's a skill," he said. "At every church I've ever been, I've gotten my way 25 percent of the time or less, and I'm not kidding."

Those attending the Redeemer service recited, "Most merciful god, we confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean. We have sinned against you in thought, word and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves."

Hubbard put it this way: "Start a conversation with God. If you're mad at God, let him have it. If God is God, he can take it. God cares about who you are."

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